Chang Baoguo: Real estate new policy: A little closer to us

From The Worker’s Daily (in Chinese), thanks to David Kelly from the East Asian Institute of National University of Singapore for the translation.

Talking about , Liu Heping, a 51 year-old Steel Corporation retiree repeatedly told me in our interview, “I’ve spent my life depressed about it.”

He became a soldier in 1971, returned to Beijing in 1974, and his family of four”he and mother, spouse and children”lives in third floor apartment of 14 square meters in an economic building on Ox Street, Xuanwu District. On his floor there are six other households, totaling nearly 30 people, where the situation, with bathrooms crowded every

morning, is imaginably bad. Since retiring last year, he says, his monthly income is 650 yuan. His wife also retired on 500 yuan. Their 24 year old child, after graduating from a private university, has stayed at home unemployed. They usually buy the cheapest food, moreover “We two haven’t seen a doctor for at least 10 years.”

Old Liu said they must now relocate because the apartments are to be demolished; they got 7,000 yuan p. sq. m. compensation but they have to solve their housing problem by themselves. New apartments here in Ox Street, close to the Baoguo Temple market, are asking 7,000 yuan p. sq. m., which they can’t afford. “At 4,000 yuan p. sq. m., resale

apartments at new projects on the Southern Fourth Ring Road are still out of the question for us.”

On a hot day, Old Liu goes with an agent to look at apartments, his bike tires bursting several times. Old Liu indicated that the government’s recent controls on housing speculation have no great relevance to them in the end. “The policy needs to get a bit closer to us.”

What is more needed in their case, perhaps, are some policies of greater relevance for “the poor” like cheap rental housing which used to be available at 3.05 Yuan p. sq. m., or moving back, or settlement in a different place, etc.

(“Worker’s Daily” 22 June 1005)

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