[By Jiao Haiyang/China.org.cn]
Recent data published by the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development has confirmed high levels of home ownership among urban and rural residents in China. Despite the large percentage of residents owning at least one unit, there have been disproportionate amounts of complaints regarding prohibitively high housing prices in urban areas. Given current ownership levels, are these complaints justified?
According to Gu Yunchang, vice president of the China Real Estate Association, part of the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development, 89 percent of urban residents own their own home, and 99 percent of rural residents are homeowners. Yet, complaints about housing prices have vastly exceeded the 10 percent of urban residents who do not own a home. What could be the cause of this phenomenon?
One would think that complaints might come from China's large migrant worker population, who struggle to earn wages in urban areas. However, as we've seen, the people who have expressed the most dissatisfaction with rising housing prices tend to be higher up the social strata.
Generally, there have been three main groups who have been the most vocal about housing prices.
The first group is young university graduates, who have complained that due to prohibitively high prices, they will never be able to afford a house through their own efforts. This group tends to be more active in online blogs and thus have generated disproportionate media attention with their comments.
Second is a group of middle-aged professionals who did not amass enough wealth in the last ten years to afford a house. Sadly, this group did not take full advantage of China's "Wealth Express" and have now begun to lose earning potential. In such a group, complaints are inevitable.