In search of cheaper pas­tures

China Daily (Canada) - - SHANGHAI - By WANG YING in Shanghai


In light of the surge in home prices in Shanghai, an in­creas­ing num­ber of per­ma­nent res­i­dents are mov­ing away from the cen­tral ar­eas of the city to the outer dis­tricts, re­vealed the lat­est sur­vey by the Shanghai Academy of So­cial Sciences (SASS).

Ac­cord­ing to the lat­est data from the Na­tional Bu­reau of Sta­tis­tics, the av­er­age price of a new home in Shanghai rose 27.7 per­cent in May from a year ago, and trade prices of used homes also grew 29.2 per­cent year-on-year.

The sur­vey, which polled 2,031 re­spon­dents from six dis­tricts in Shanghai, stated that about 14.7 per­cent of the city’s res­i­dents live within the In­ner Ring, down 5.6 per­cent­age points from 2015, while 33.8 per­cent of the re­spon­dents live be­tween the In­ner Ring and the Mid­dle Ring, a growth of 14.5 per­cent year-on-year. Fur­ther­more, there has been a 5.3 per­cent in­crease in the pop­u­la­tion be­yond the Outer Ring as com­pared to last year.

The sur­vey also showed that nearly 80 per­cent of the city’s per­ma­nent pop­u­la­tion — those who hold a hukou (house­hold reg­is­tra­tion record) — own at least one home, while 62.2 per­cent of long term res­i­dents said they are pres­sured by the city’s soar­ing home prices. Those with an an­nual in­come of less than 100,000 yuan ($15,032) per year are more likely to live out­side the Sub­urb Ring, in com­par­i­son to those earn­ing more than 200,000 yuan per year who gen­er­ally live be­tween the Mid­dle Ring and the Outer Ring.

Shiela Wang, a Fu­jian na­tive who has been work­ing in an IT com­pany af­ter grad­u­a­tion, is one such per­son. She bought her first home in Baoshan dis­trict six years ago.

“It’s very dif­fi­cult for me to buy an­other apart­ment for my par­ents. I am un­able to do so with­out af­fect­ing my qual­ity of life. I still have many years left on my mort­gage loans for my cur­rent home,” said Wang.

Liu Tianyang, gen­eral man­ager of Cen­taline Shanghai and the vice-president of the com­pany’s Chi­nese main­land op­er­a­tions, said that the soar­ing home prices have been due to the in­flux of top tal­ents into Shanghai since 2013, which in turn cre­ates high de­mand for homes.

For Candy Zhou, a Shang­hai­born en­tre­pre­neur, liv­ing far­ther from the city cen­ter means hav­ing bet­ter liv­ing con­di­tions. Last year, Zhou bought her first house in Pudong New Area, which is within the In­ner Ring, as she ex­pects home prices in Shanghai to rise at a sim­i­lar pace as those in New York and Lon­don.

“Most of the young peo­ple I know can­not af­ford a house in the city cen­ter. Young peo­ple don’t like the old and cramped apart­ments within the Mid­dle Ring that cost mil­lions of yuan. In or­der to live in newly-built houses, they sim­ply have to move be­yond the Outer Ring,” said the 26-year-old.

Bai Yi­meng in Shanghai con­trib­uted to this story.

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