When Crystal Zhang decided to buy a house last August, it seemed like a no-brainer.
For years, she had been spending a big chunk of her salary renting a studio apartment in Beijing, where she works as a mid-level executive in a multinational company. But her landlord kept hiking the rent, so she found a second-hand apartment and plunked 640,000 RMB (nearly US$100,000) as 52 percent down payment for a new home. She now lives in a cozy, one-bedroom flat and sets aside 25 percent of her monthly salary to pay for mortgage. “I hope to pay all up in five years,” says Zhang. “By then I can start making some other investments.”
Zhang, 30 and single, is one of the fortunate ones. The upwardly mobile professional has ample disposable income–and a good sense of timing. In just five months since she bought her 85-square-meter apartment, it has already appreciated by 38 percent. “I’m glad I bought this one when I could still afford it, even though its price was already high,” she said. “Now the price is ridiculously high.”