Housing is arguably the most important asset in most modern societies, and a change in housing arrangements is expected to spark changes on the political level. The incentive to participate politically is believed to increase when individuals purchase private property. Almost 30 years after the marketization of real estate, China has become “a country of homeowners.” A growing body of academic research focus on homeowners and the increase in property rights awareness and the need to protect common interests through collective action. This study explores the effects of homeownership on individuals in Hangzhou, China. Conducting in-depth interviews with homeowners and a few tenants from diverse backgrounds, it investigates the promulgation of property rights awareness and incentives and interests in participation in neighbourhood activities, in particular in the homeowners’ association. The findings indicate that there is no evident awareness of property rights among homeowners in Hangzhou. The interest in participating in, and the legitimacy of, the homeowners’ association, was low among the interviewees. In addition, the trust and legitimacy appears to have shifted from the homeowner’s association towards the marked, as represented by the management company. Purchasing property is defined as a safe way to deposit money. Improvements in consumer protection and similarly increased trust in the legal system, in particular on behalf of the more experienced and better-off homeowners, offer a valid explanation. There is a deficiency in social capital, expressed with low levels of trust in other people, in particular in those outside of one’s neighbourhood.