Unraveling the determinants for private renting in metropolitan China: An application of the Theory of Planned Behavior

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After being neglected since the establishment of the housing market in the 1990s, China has recently shown great enthusiasm for developing the housing rental market. It is essential to understand why people choose private renting as it enables us to better identify the demands of tenants and develop policies accordingly to promote private renting. However, at the micro-level, the determinants for people's renting intention have rarely been studied in the Chinese context. This paper aims to examine what specific underlying beliefs, as well as background factors, influence people's private renting intention in China's metropolises. Using the Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB), we designed questionnaires and collected personal data from 476 private renters living in Shenzhen. We found people had generally favorable attitudes, supportive subjective norms, and high perceived behavioral control of private renting in Shenzhen. Results from a path analysis suggest that people's renting intention was most influenced by their attitudes toward renting, followed by subjective norms and perceived behavioral control. In addition, marital status and some underlying behavioral, normative, and control beliefs were also found to have significant influences on renting intention. Based on our findings, some recommendations were proposed to promote private renting, such as advertising the advantages of renting to the public, enhancing the sense of belonging of renters, and expanding the rental housing supply.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102640
Number of pages15
JournalHabitat International
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Private renting
  • Renting intention
  • Tenure choice
  • Theory of planned behavior


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