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High House Price Makes a Beat Generation

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Rapidly rising home prices have again become a hot topic among Chinese netizens who in recent days have focused on a discussion prompted by an online post that says the post-80s generation can now only dream of home ownership because of high apartment prices.

According to a report in the Information Times, the online post noted that the main focus of a typical student at Peking University after graduation is home ownership. But two decades ago students focused on fighting to build a powerful China, and 10 years ago, their mission was to open a Chinese version of Microsoft and surpass Bill Gates, the American IT giant.

The online post complained that members of the post-80s generation would have easy lives if they could purchase homes after saving three to five years' worth of their incomes. But the reality is that most of them will have to live embarrassingly thrifty lives and save for a smaller home for at least 15 to 20 years.

"To buy a house, we are afraid of unemployment," the post said. "We are not brave enough to open our own businesses; we are forced to buy a house with parents' financial help; and we also dare not raise the next generation."

The post concluded that the post-80s generation will have to save for a home throughout most of their lives as they will become slaves of housing mortgages.

Most netizens agreed with the post. A young man surnamed Liu who works at a media company in Guanghzou told the Information Times that although he has worked for three years, he has not been able to afford a house on his monthly salary of 5,000 yuan (US$732).

"I plan to get married, but the house is the biggest challenge for me and my girlfriend because prices for nearby homes are already over 15,000 yuan per square meter," he was quoted as saying. "We will have to borrow our parents' money to buy a house."

Meanwhile, another online post by a female netizen that urged young women not to marry men over thirty years old who did not own a house, prompted a heated debate on the internet. The post said men over 30 who did not own homes had missed the best two opportunities to buy a house in China. It implied that if these men had failed to grasp a chance to become a homeowner when they had it, they would unlikely make much money in the future.

Most netizens showed their disapproval with the post and said they considered the writer a "material girl." But many netizens from the post-70s generation said they had to break up with their girlfriends because they did not own a home, while some admitted they had lied about home ownership.

The report also noted that under the heavy pressure of high house prices, many young couples have decided to simply register to marry without having to first buy a house, a car, wedding rings and photographs, and even spend a honeymoon before marriage.

( October 16, 2009)

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