When Will the Dream of Owning a Home Come True?
    2014-03-05 10:42:08     CRIENGLISH.com         Web Editor: Wang


Home prices are also a major topic of discussion at this year's "lianghui," or "two sessions."

CRI's Ding Lulu with more on one family's story of potential home ownership in this country.

Reporter: 35-year-old Ren Zhong is a civil servant from Hangzhou, a large, second-tier city about an hour away from Shanghai by high speed rail.

Along with his wife and his two kids, he lives in a two-bedroom apartment in the city center provided by his wife's employer.

Although he only pays very little rent for his current apartment, Ren Zhong still has a dream of owning his own home in the city.

"I want to buy a home, but I have to take my children's education into account so I only consider school district housing. The prices for that are very high in Hangzhou. I have looked at a few estates but my income is not high enough to afford it."

Earlier this month, home prices in Hangzhou declined as real estate developers offered discounts on new houses on the outskirt of the city in a bid to spur sales.

Overall, National Bureau of Statistics figures show Hangzhou's home prices dropped only 0.1 percent in January from the previous month.

But the decline is simply not enough.

"The discounted estates are far from where I work in the city center. The second-hand homes have not shown any clear sign of big decline. The home we want is worth about two million yuan, but we can only afford houses around one million."

Ren Zhong knows he's not alone.

He feels that the gap between the rich and poor is already huge but still widening, with the majority not being able to afford a house and the minority having multiple properties.

He says he understands that the high price of school district housing only reflects the scarcity of good quality education, and the prices cannot be distorted by one-time policies.

"Good quality resources are always rare commodities. I do not criticize school district housing. It's just like National college entrance exams, there's simply not a better solution. Without school district housing, the distribution of high quality education will be even more distorted."

When asked what can be done at this year's two sessions to help him realize his dream of owning a home, Ren Zhong says a more fair allocation of resources is key.

But, he says he doesn't expect reforms to happen overnight.

"Increasing supply is one way, but coordination and allocation needs to be fairer. Some houses should not have all the conveniences and amenities, including access to good schools. We need comprehensive reforms with an effective long-term mechanism, instead of a single measure like the property tax."

Ren Zhong says he does not mind waiting, as long as it is on track to happen.

For CRI, I'm Ding Lulu.



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The Beijing Hour updated 20:00 2014/05/23
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