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Survey Reveals Wrath of Beijing Home-Owners
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For most people, buying a house is something that happens only once in their lives, leaving most with the intention of getting it right. This makes it all the more shocking that 80 percent of Beijing home-owners are dissatisfied with their purchases, a recent survey revealed.


Conducted by the Beijing Consumers' Association (BCA), the survey quizzed 2,315 people across 23 residential complexes in Beijing, with a large majority expressing their ire at the rocketing prices of real estate.


As Beijing's housing market continues to be cost-prohibitive for most of its inhabitants, those surveyed said that a reasonable price for Beijing property should lie between 3000 to 7000 yuan per square meter.


Other factors concerning house-hunters are the quality of the buildings, surrounding environment and conditions as well as traffic and property management.


In an effort to quell these grumblings, the BCA has suggested that strict sales regulations and contracts be imposed, along with tough punishment being meted out to developers caught in violation of building standards or of conspiring to jack up property prices.


About 41.2 percent of respondents' complaints stemmed from defective designs in their houses, while nearly 40 percent lamented the poor quality of lighting and ventilation.


The list of complaints continues, as staggering as it is wide-ranging. Landscaping in residential areas sparks the dissatisfaction of 43.2 percent of respondents, with about one-third say they were "bluffed" into buying "third-rate" houses.


Over 50% of those surveyed took issue with the lack of sports and entertainment facilities in their neighborhoods, with woeful property management coupled with high fees also alienating 56.5 percent of residents.


A whopping 60 percent of consumers felt that developers' advertisements were untruthful, with only 6.3 percent being satisfied.


Experts have suggested that consumers should be better informed about a developer and their background before making the purchase. Furthermore, all little details such as lighting and ventilation conditions should be thoroughly surveyed before any deal is agreed.  


In China, the average lifespan of a house stands at only 50 years, a poor figure when compared to the 80-year average seen in Switzerland or Norway and far behind the 132 years enjoyed by homesteads in Britain.


"I checked more than 50 residential complexes in over 30 cities in China and found that almost 95 percent of the new designs proposed last year had high construction standards. However, over half of the completed buildings did not meet the standards presented on paper," said Zhou Leijian, an expert from Ministry of Construction.


"Therefore, we should pay more attention to the process of construction, and guarantee the quality of building materials to have high quality houses that satisfy the consumers," Zhou said.


(China Daily April 9, 2007)

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