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Rising home prices send China's 'Rat Race' scurrying underground

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posted on Jan, 5 2014 @ 08:05 PM
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A general view of buildings in Beijing, July 3, 2013.



Zig-zagging left and right through a maze of dark, narrow corridors in a high-rise's basement, 35-year-old kitchen worker Hu has joined the many thousands of Chinese fleeing fast-rising property prices by heading down - down underground.

Hu lives here beneath an affluent downtown apartment building, in a windowless, 4 square-meter (43 square-foot) apartment with his wife. For 400 yuan ($65.85) a month in rent, there's no air-conditioning, the only suggestion of heat is a pipe snaking through to deliver gas to the apartments above and the bathroom is a fetid, shared toilet down the hall.

"I can't afford to rent a house," said Hu as he showed off his meager appointments. Living in basement apartments isn't illegal in China, but like anywhere else it is nothing to brag about and Hu, who guts fish for 2,500 yuan a month at a popular Sichuanese hotpot restaurant on the street above, declined to provide his given name. "If I weren't trying to save money, I wouldn't live here," he said.




Locals have dubbed Hu and his fellow subterranean denizens the "rat race" - casualties and simultaneously emblems of a housing market beyond the government's control.

Despite efforts to discourage property speculation and develop affordable housing, a steady stream of job-seekers from the countryside and a lack of attractive investment alternatives have kept prices soaring. Residential property prices rose 10 percent in November from the same month of 2012, according to data released last week, and have been setting new records every year since 2009. Prices in Beijing are rising even faster - 16 percent a year - with rents climbing 12 percent a year.


According to Reuters calculations, it's three times more expensive for a Chinese individual to by a home in Beijing than it is for an American to by a home in New York City based on relative costs and earnings. The result, go underground.



Apartments are so small that Hu said he and his wife have trouble sleeping together in their tiny bed. He has resorted to spending most nights in another basement apartment provided by his restaurant. His wife yearns for a larger home above ground and in the meantime makes do by decorating the room with plastic bells and flowers that Hu says she finds in the street. Their dream of owning a home remains distant and Hu says basement living has hurt their relationship.


Source:
www.reuters.com...

But housing prices are not the only problem in the region:
In some of the capital cities in SE Asia, traffic is getting so bad that I think in the future people will have to live at their workplace and go home, if they can afford one, only on weekends. Perhaps offices will be outfitted with pull-down beds and portable partitions for employees to stay the night. When you have to commute 5 or more hours/day, maybe it's not so bad.




posted on Jan, 5 2014 @ 08:16 PM
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Let's hear it for HUMANITY!!!!!!!



posted on Jan, 5 2014 @ 09:22 PM
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reply to post by zeroBelief
 


Any way out of this mess?


Is this gonna start happening in N. Amer. or has it already with people living underground in subways and sewer systems?
edit on ppm105America/ChicagoSun, 05 Jan 2014 21:38:19 -0600190pm14 by pandersway because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 5 2014 @ 09:57 PM
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reply to post by pandersway
 





But housing prices are not the only problem in the region: In some of the capital cities in SE Asia, traffic is getting so bad that I think in the future people will have to live at their workplace and go home, if they can afford one, only on weekends.


This is another problem that due to lack of planning is getting worse by the day. Many of the cities only want cars and not motorcycles. Cars are seen a being more desirable and bring in more revenue via taxes. This is only true if you look at the cost of a license plate. A plate for a car runs around 2500 CNY per year vs a motorcycles at 1700 CNY so the idea is get more cars. However, you can get 6 motorcycles in the same space as 1 car or 8500 CNY more per year over the car. They lose money on plates at an unbelievable rate per year.

Cars are also desired over motorcycles due to higher insurance rates and fuel consumption which adds tax income for the cities. I did forget to mention each city issues its own license plate and doesn't like to recognize the plate from another city so figure in corruption.

Couple this with the high cost of housing and you have a recipe for disaster. People are being flooded into the cities that have a shortage of good paying jobs so they end up in the rat race.



posted on Jan, 5 2014 @ 10:01 PM
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But housing prices are not the only problem in the region:
In some of the capital cities in SE Asia, traffic is getting so bad that I think in the future people will have to live at their workplace and go home, if they can afford one, only on weekends. Perhaps offices will be outfitted with pull-down beds and portable partitions for employees to stay the night. When you have to commute 5 or more hours/day, maybe it's not so bad.


The above seems a bit drastic, the rest of SE Asia is nowhere near as bad as China.
All countries in the region are taking steps to combat congestion. Better public transport and raising car prices are the 2 main measures but you are spot on with housing prices.
Condos and apartments are being built all the time but most are too expensive to buy or even rent for the average Malaysian due to the prices being pushed up by speculators, in some buildings you have occupancy rates of 20% due to the oversupply and high prices of rent.

The owners would rather leave them empty than get less than they feel they are worth.
Actually now I think abuot it almost all the speculators are Malaysian Chinese.... hmmmmm



posted on Jan, 5 2014 @ 10:12 PM
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reply to post by pstrron
 


Many cities in SE Asia don't even regulate the number of motorbikes. Credit is easy, public transportation is incredibly uncomfortable and irregular, so the result is thousands more motorbikes on the road by the month.

Compound this with, as you say inadequate urban planning, and presto, chaos.

On an individual note, living in a small town is keenly sought after but very difficult finding work or decent salaries.

Most capital cities in the region don't decentralize their government offices so everybody, civil servants and the private sector, all trying to live on top of each other or under as the case may be.

Then add political corruption and the inability to build better public transportation systems such as monorails (Jakarta) and then you're left with a pretty bleak future for the people stuck there in that situation.



posted on Jan, 5 2014 @ 10:14 PM
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reply to post by IkNOwSTuff
 

True, I was actually thinking more of Jakarta and how it applies there.



posted on Jan, 5 2014 @ 11:22 PM
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reply to post by pandersway
 


Sorry, I should have made myself more clear. I was only referencing China and not the rest of SE Asia.



posted on Jan, 6 2014 @ 12:45 AM
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I have one thing to say:

Give a couple generations, and the rat race will be Morlocks



posted on Jan, 6 2014 @ 04:38 AM
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pandersway
reply to post by zeroBelief
 


Any way out of this mess?


Is this gonna start happening in N. Amer. or has it already with people living underground in subways and sewer systems?
edit on ppm105America/ChicagoSun, 05 Jan 2014 21:38:19 -0600190pm14 by pandersway because: (no reason given)



Shhhh....we're better than the stinking chinese...shhhh.....

That cannot happen here....

Shhhh....


There have already been documentaries about the sewer system below Vegas with the folks living there...as well as the NYC sewer system during "Super Storm Sandy".....

So, yeah, it's happened here....


edit on 6-1-2014 by zeroBelief because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 30 2014 @ 12:30 AM
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Well, people nowadays depend on a loan that they think can help pay for things that you they have to pay for right away. Getting tax return processed takes just a little while anyway before the hold off in the IRS. Now, people who expected to get quick cash in a return easily will have to wait at least until the end of the month. Tax refunds will not be coming for a lot longer this year. The IRS will not be accepting any returns until the end of January. On top of that, you will have to wait a little while for processing.



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