Many guys may enumerate many drawbacks living in Beijing: air pollution, traffic jam, sandstorms…and the high living costs here. The other day I chatted with a friend, the young guy felt upset and complained,” Oh, my god! My apartment is going farther and farther away from me now…When can I own one of my own?”
He is not alone though. Living in this city, people are feeling more and more pressure at the soaring housing prices. According to the statistics released by the National Statistics Bureau, the average housing prices in 70 major cities kept rising by another 6.7% in the third quarter compared with the same period last year. In September, the selling prices in these 70 cities climbed up by 6.3%, among which Beijing had seen an amazing 10.3% growth. As a matter of fact, housing problem, along with the pyramiding education expeses and sky-rocketing medical expenses, has become one of the three major social problems in the current economic and social development.
Frankly speaking, the housing reform program initiated from 1998 has been a failure. Since then, China has been reforming its housing system by implementing the Affordable Housing Program, when the government abolished the welfare-oriented allocation of public housing, marking the commencement of China’s housing system reform. That was the time when the concept of affordable housing was introduced and initiated. As per some related laws and regulations promulgated thereafter, 80% of the households in major cities would benefit from the government’s affordable housing program instead of those for commercial purpose. The policy should have made in favor of those who are really in need of apartments, only to find it had been framed in protection of the interests of those property developers. In fact, the major real estate developers were more than delighted to learn the news and embraced the new regulations totally to their heart’s content.
At the same time, however, it is common folks who finally bear the burden and pay the bill. Many common folks who really need a place to live have not benefited from the affordable housing program. More and more low-income households cannot afford to buy an appartment for themselves. A beneficial policy that should have favored the common folks has finally deteriorated into a fountain of evil triggering social disparity. Some people jokingly remarked that China’s housing reform was an “eight-year war against housing conundrum”, which has at last grown into a black humor. It finally has benfited the rich, other than the poor. A friend in the circle commented that China’s real estate industry had become another monopolic industry besides gas and petroleum, telecommunications, and electricity.
This will surely be a bad news for us common folks. I felt lucky that I bought my apartment two and a half years ago, at a fairly acceptable price. Now, the prices for an apartment of the same size as mine in my neighbourhood have almost been doubled. I could not have afforded mine had I not bought it then–I would have paid at least 200grands more than that I had paid two and half years ago. And I would have spent several more years to cover it.
But there are still many unlucky guys as my friend. He is planning to buy one and collecting the information of all the housing projects in his desired area. The results are frustrating. However, this is a problem he has to address. After all, a place to live is one of people’s basic needs!
Black humour? Sure it is!