To buy or not to buy: Chinese home buyers' dilemma (2)

17:04, November 26, 2009      

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Young couples like Shou and Sun have few options. They are not eligible for applying for affordable housing and the affordable homes are often far from the downtown areas.

In Beijing, only families with a total annual household income below 88,000 yuan are eligible to apply for affordable housing.

"We don't qualify to buy an affordable home, and life is not easy after buying another home on installment. We have shortened our daily shopping lists and cut our budget for the wedding and honeymoon," Shou says.

The government-subsidized affordable housing program is aimed at providing accommodation for 7.47 million low-income urban households from 2009 to 2011.

However, a survey by the National People's Congress showed low-income home construction in 2009 was behind target with only 23.6 percent investment realized by the end of August.

Liu Yuanchun, vice president of the School of Economics of the Renmin University of China, would like to see the government step up efforts on low-rent apartment construction next year for urban dwellers.

"The government should endeavor to help more low-income urban families and young couples get access to affordable homes. This can help improve their living standards and is also conducive to the stable and long-term development of the property industry," Qin says.

Shou says, "I hope young couples like us can qualify to buy affordable homes, and some affordable apartments can be located within the downtown areas. You see many Beijing communters living outside the fifth ring road going to work very early and dozing off on subways or buses."

Next year Valentine's Day is also the first day of the Chinese lunar year. Shou and Sun will buy each other a modest gift, and carry bigger gifts back to parents and relatives who lent them money for their home dream.

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