A home­buyer’s story: Long wait, then panic

China Daily (USA) - - CHINA - By ZHU LIXIN in He­fei zhulixin@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Hun­dreds of pan­icky peo­ple were lin­ing up in front of the sales cen­ter, like starv­ing beg­gars wait­ing for free food.” Song Zim­ing, a He­fei res­i­dent who just pur­chased a house

Af­ter more than half a year try­ing, Song Zim­ing, 25, fi­nally man­aged to buy an apart­ment in He­fei, An­hui prov­ince, about 300 kilo­me­ters from Shang­hai.

“It was just so hard,” Song said.

Orig­i­nally from Huaibei, Song was re­cruited by a He­fei-based com­pany in 2014 af­ter he grad­u­ated from col­lege.

“In the sec­ond half of last year, I fell in love with a He­fei girl, and I pre­pared to buy an apart­ment in the city,” Song said, jok­ing that he regrets he had not fallen in love ear­lier.

He had scarcely any sav­ings, but his par­ents of­fered 200,000 yuan ($30,000) for the down pay­ment. First-time buy­ers are re­quired to pay at least 25 per­cent of the pur­chase price up front.

“I used to think a to­tal of 800,000 yuan would be enough to buy a 100-squareme­ter apart­ment in the down­town area,” said Song, who found out dif­fer­ently af­ter in­quir­ing with dozens of de­vel­op­ers.

“The an­swers were in­cred­i­bly the same: They don’t have any apart­ments left, and new apart­ment build­ings have not launched yet,” he said.

His girl­friend, Zhu Lin­lin, added: “Some­times the sales man­agers asked how much money we had, and we pre­tended to have enough money. Then the prices just scared us off.”

Since the be­gin­ning of this year, hous­ing prices in He­fei have been sky­rock­et­ing. Ac­cord­ing to data re­leased by the China In­dex Academy, the av­er­age hous­ing price there climbed to 9,968 yuan per square me­ter as of the end of Au­gust, from 7,577 yuan per square me­ter in the same pe­riod last year.

Hav­ing tried and failed, the cou­ple had to give up on the down­town area. They learned in July that there would be a large com­mu­nity in the city’s ru­ral Feixi county, which lies near He­fei’s outer sub­urbs.

“It was al­most our last chance,” said Song, who reg­is­tered his in­for­ma­tion with the developer.

On Fri­day, as the cou­ple were vis­it­ing Song’s par­ents in Huaibei city, Song got a call in­form­ing him that the developer would launch about 500 apart­ments in a few hours. He had to ask his girl­friend’s brother, who was in He­fei, for help.

Good news came early the next day.

“My brother suc­ceeded in grab­bing an 89-square-me­ter apart­ment, priced at 670,000 yuan,” Zhu said. Her brother paid 50,000 yuan on site to re­serve the apart­ment.

Song showed some pho­tos taken by Zhu’s brother and de­scribed them this way: “Hun­dreds of pan­icky peo­ple were lin­ing up in front of the sales cen­ter, like starv­ing beg­gars wait­ing for free food.”

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