Young Couple Live on 5 RMB/Day to Save For Home Down Payment

Young Chinese couple scrimps and saves for 3 years living on an average of 5 RMB per day in order to afford a downpayment on a home.

From Sohu, QQ, NetEase:

Young Couple Spends an Average of 5 Yuan Per Day [<1 USD] to Save for a Home, Once Went 8 Months Without Eating Meat

4 years ago, young Inner Mongolian guy Qiu Guoying and Hebei young lady Hao Ranran met and fell in love at a factory in Baoding. The young guy is poor, that even his suit when getting married was borrowed. He promised that he would use his two hands to earn [the money to buy] a home of his own and give his wife a good life. For this dream, the young couple even “agreed on three laws”: Don’t go shopping, don’t go on vacation, don’t eat out.

The wages of the two total less than 4000, and the down payment for a new home in the actory is at least 100,000. They drew up a plan for saving money: save 3500 every month, and have the down payment in 3 years. Every month, the money left over after rent and such expenses, they can only spend 5 kuai on average each day. The wife racks her brain to save money, only buying the cheapest vegetables, once going 8 months without eating meat. The husband for his part works as much as he can, and has practically not had a sound night of sleep [in a long time].

[The following paragraph is only on the Sohu report and originally from a third CCTV microblog post about this story:]

Before Spring Festival, the young couple finally moved into their own home. In their new home, every single brick and every single lamp was [paid for by] their bit by bit of savings. Perhaps the closer they are to their dream, the more they are reminded of their past days of hardships saving money. To this day, husband Qiu Guoying doesn’t know that in order to save money, his wife once found cabbage leaves others had left over for them to eat for an entire half month…

The CCTV report:

china-young-couple-saves-for-home-spends-only-average-5-rmb-per-day-cctv-01

Comments from Sina Weibo:

兰陵忆潇湘:

Just whose sadness is this [who caused this], and you [CCTV] still have the nerve to broadcast this! Talk about treating us as the ignorant masses!

魔力豆豆0:

My husband also saw this microblog post, and said if we didn’t have a home [house/apartment], we’d rather rent a place than live so miserably. I also think this kind of life is too oppressive/stifling. We don’t have high standards for eating and I too can do without luxury goods. Although I don’t like to go shopping, I too will go buy things I like, such as plush toys, clothes. Also, we like to go traveling.

翎水翔影:

Seeing the comments here, it’s almost all criticizing the system this or mortgage slaves that. I bet there there weren’t many people who finished watching [the video] either. Is there really nobody moved by the couple in it and their unceasing perseverance in the pursuit of their dream? Sigh, I’ll reshare it, for my friends, as well as myself, and hope that in this new year everyone can work hard towards learning from the couple in the video and realize their own dreams. My dream is simply to pass the graduate school entrance exam. This year I must succeed.

晨晨晨晨晨P:

A way of pursuing one’s dream. They’re willing to do it, and at least they achieved their dream, whatever the cost.

萌Baby_小7:

All of a sudden I feel sad.

Comments from Sohu:

shale290 [搜狐河北省秦皇岛市网友]

Well done, having both a dream and taking action [to achieve that dream], impressive.
Loving, hardworking, and frugal, they’ll have a happy life [in the future], and I wish the young couple the best.

希望有房 [搜狐北京市网友]

“To become rich through one’s own efforts” has already become an empty phrase in today’s society.

傲视苍莽 [搜狐河北省石家庄市网友]

All forced by high housing prices, where for a home, the meaning of living is almost gone.
However, having a goal is also a good thing, and perhaps there is a joy in this too.

远宇青云372040 [搜狐四川省达州市网友]

A sad ordinary commoner home-buyer.

zhoujin8899 [搜狐安徽省阜阳市网友]

Did the home prices not increase in those three years?
Here where we are, from ’05 to ’13, they increased almost every year, with surprises every day.

Comments from QQ:

金健运动

Money is earned, not saved.

水晶妮妮

Housing prices are killing people! However, being able to meet this kind of girl is also a sort of blessing/happiness!

过去的CD

To have a wife like this, what more could a husband want, he’ll have everything.

许绍连

Just what kind of values is this news trying to impart? On the surface, it looks like love that involves sharing in hardships and happiness, but in fact makes people see the huge pressures housing prices have brought to ordinary people. If after so many years of scrimping and saving people can only save up for a down payment, then what exactly is the value and point of this life? A single apartment? China’s home prices, what a rip off!

乐山

No car, no house. To have this kind of wife, brother, you are too blessed! May you be happy until you are old [all your life]. This kind of wife is too difficult to find.

Comments from NetEase:

网易广东省广州市网友 ip:183.4.*.*:

Only want to say, there really is no need to be so strict on oneself, as one only has 20,000 something days in one’s life!

kjsoul [网易四川省成都市网友]:

If saving money can buy a home in the Heavenly Kingdom, then that would be a surprise.

冰山一角ra [网易北京市网友]:

5 yuan average per day, just enough to eat food, but once you have your home, what will you be like as a person?

朝鲜网民 [网易山西省太原市网友]:

I feel like crying, it is too difficult.

freedom2023 [网易山东省潍坊市网友]:

Talk about spending one’s life working for the bank.

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  • 21tigermike

    Sounds about right. I remember working in China… *shudder*

    • Stefan Xu

      Where did u live and what did you work with? How was your experience? :)

  • Jahar

    no mention of how much they will be paying and for how long after this?

  • Middle_Kingdum

    A Chinese girl that will marry a penniless factory worker who cannot afford to buy her a car and house at marriage? That is news!

    • Free Man

      Exactly my thought.

      Was wondering for a moment why most of the netizens are blaming the system instead of praising those 2 for accepting each other despite the ‘lack’ of money and working hard together.

      Then I remembered: in China money is more important than love and buying a house is more important than living a pleasant life.

      • Irvin

        Who gives a fuck about the two of them? People get married and divorce all the time, rich and poor! it’s no news.

        Them slaving for a house while eatting throw away cabbage leafs, now that’s news.

        • Free Man

          You took the time reading the article and the comments, so you must care a little bit.

          A poor chinese dude finding a girl willing to marry him despite his lack of money surely IS new/rare in China.

          I don’t give a fuck about them either, but this behaviour (not the miserable life they live to achive their goal but the fact that they married without him owning a home&car) is (at least in China) extraordinary and worth praising from my POV.

          • Irvin

            Men are only as loyal as their options, women are only as willing as her’s.

            So ladies, whe you hear your man say “Baby you’re the only one I want” don’t feel too happy, it only means you’re the only one they can fuck. And same with women.

          • Stefan Xu

            What? What if the guy has many options but chooses one?

          • miomeinmio

            You’re gross.

          • mr.wiener

            Well I hope you find someone who changes your mind. A view like that is much too bleak for me.

  • elizabeth

    True love, perseverance, ability to take hardship…and a dream. This couple will go far in life with the right priorities.

    • ScottLoar

      I agree, and the sarcasm and ridicule of those commenting about how dumb these two are (e.g. “poor stupid fuckers”) leaves me cold.

      • Irvin

        Well……….they did make materialism as their main goal in life, if that doesn’t make them “poor stupid fuckers” it at least make them superficial stupid fuckers that can’t see there’s more to life than a roof over your head that you own.

        They could have easily rented and actually LIVED.

        • ScottLoar

          “They could have easily rented and actually LIVED.”

          You propose that they live it up, invest in no assets, pay rent which will go up yearly, and not be “superficial stupid fuckers” for wanting a property which is their best investment in China, and wanting to share a future together in their own home. We can be sure these two people are not loveless, penniless, or living alone, and showing the same discipline and determination will probably do quite well in the future… but say, what about yourself?

          • Irvin

            Once again how I think of them is my opinion and what you think of my opinion of them is your opinion of my opinion, a subject that we can argue till our hair grow gray.

            So while not saying that you are right, which you’re not in my opinion, I shall withdraw from this particular debate.

          • ScottLoar

            Or, they’re young and ambitious, you’re comfortably laid-back and will continue so until your hair grows gray.

          • Irvin

            Young and stupid more like, at least we can agree on me being laid back till I grow gray part.

          • ScottLoar

            And you have no sense of introspection or irony when denigrating a married couple who after three years of scrimping and saving can finally afford a mortgage on a home; you call them materialistic and ” superficial stupid fuckers” then go on to recount your own life of “l’ll continue to rent and enjoy my 55″ 3d tv, iphones, ps4, xbone and eat out daily”. I ask everyone, of the two who is the Material Fuck? Are you really so shallow, so lacking in introspection and self-examination that you can’t see? You, boy, are fucked, so get used to your future because yesterday and today will be the same, and tomorrow will be worse for you.

            “Whoa! A real 55″ 3-D tv! Oh, I can’t wait to park and watch NFL and Bundesliga,and porn, and Avatar and… such reality! Yeah!”

          • Irvin

            If you admire throw away cabbage leafs so much by all means go eat it, no one is stopping you.

          • niggaplz

            china is suffering from a massive housing bubble. I hope CCTV do a follow-up in a few years to see how these couples coup with their underwater mortgage.

            This paper written in 2006 on the eve of US housing collapse, eerily describes what china is like today.

            http://michael-hudson.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/RoadToSerfdom.pdf

          • ScottLoar

            Please read what I’ve written elsewhere here; I don’t have the patience to repeat myself to refute those who insist the US housing collapse and China are analogous.

    • ESL Ninja

      Will they really? He is working in a shitty job every hour god sends for a pittance and they are eating stuff that people throw away. They have no holidays or luxuries oh, but they have a roof over their heads (which they could have had if they rented).

      How is their life going to be when they enter phase 2 of the China Dream(tm), having a baby? They will be even worse off and they won’t even have happy memories to fall back on. Oh, but at least they will have a roof over their heads.

      In a country where you never actually ‘own’ property, I think it is a ridiculous priority in life.

  • Cameron

    Their single mindedness is certainly admirable in saving enough money for a deposit from such pitiful wages. However, this hardly something to celebrate. They will continue living hand to mouth for the next ten twenty years to pay off their mortgage/feed their kid. Effectively slaving away so that people at the top of the real estate chain can keep earning the massive money on inflated property prices. Exploiting the labour lf their fellow citizens.

    It’s a sick system thats taken root around the world, where people are getting rich off the human necessity of keeping a roof over our heads. Of course our governments couldn’t give a rats ass because they are not the ones working fifteen hour days for a pittance to live in a shoe box. It makes the economy look good until it bursts, and they and their friends can make a tidy profit as they keep inflating the bubble.

    • Rick in China

      Very apt analysis. One problem here is that they aren’t seeing any bigger picture, and as a result seem that they will never really improve their lives – rather than spend all of their time slaving away, they should have spent that 3 years improving their skill sets or education in some sense so that their combined salaries aren’t so pitiful. There is no reason for them to buy a house they obviously can not afford, especially when the real estate market in many cities having such a very questionable future. They’ve shown exceptional will and drive, however, seemingly very misguided, and for that I feel bad for them.

      • Irvin

        See we all invest differently, some in piggy banks, some in houses, and some in education.

        One thing my father said to me when I’m young that particularly stick to me to this day, he said money, house and all your worldly possessions can all be burn in a fire. But education, once you’re still alive, no one can take it from you.

        • don mario

          chinese all invest in a house. that story illustrates this pretty clearly, even the poorest bums are scraping buy to do it.

    • don mario

      and after all that toil, the government will still own the house back after 70 years.

      chinese need to move on past this backwards spend you life savings on a house(even when the government can still claim it back in future, or even demolish it and move your poor ass somewhere else) bullshit or the prices are never going to lower and they are never going to get out of this vicious circle.

      • Cameron

        True. But this is a problem the world over. If rents and landlords were more reasonable, the fixation with owning property would diminish somewhat. As an aside rather than fix the problem of spiraling housing costs and young families being noble to afford a small home, the UK government is creating more loans (ie more debt) for young people who cannot put together a sufficient deposit. Rather than address the root cause – the ridiculous unsustainable inflation of house prices to wages – instead they merely look for another quick fix which, surprise surprise, only really benefits those at the top of the food chain.

  • ESL Ninja

    Poor stupid fuckers.

    They could have rented and eaten well, had vacations and enjoyed themselves for four years. They have only put down a deposit, they are doomed to live like this for the rest of their sad little lives. Drones trying to attain their China Dream(tm).

    That’s just my opinion, I am sure there are people who think otherwise, I know many of my friends back in the UK think their lives are incomplete unless they are on the property ‘ladder’.

    • mr.wiener

      I was lucky, I bought my apartment during SARS when prices dipped. I guess most people will have to wait for the next global pandemic before they can buy a place.

    • Kai

      What you want most vs. what you want now.

  • ex-expat

    I worry what will happen if property prices in China experience a correction. Of course, prices cannot go up forever. When the US experienced its most recent real estate disaster, even though things got really bad, many people just walked away from their no money down, interest only loans, and just had to deal with no credit for seven years. Many Chinese put their entire savings into property. If and when significant portions of their wealth gets destroyed, there will be a lot of unhappy people. People like the couple in the aforementioned article are pretty screwed right now, and have the potential to be even more so down the road.

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-02-04/china-savers-penchant-for-property-magnifies-bust-danger.html

  • ScottLoar

    I don’t see property prices declining in the first tier cities of Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai, Guangzhou or Shenzhen which are the equivalents to London of the 1700’s or New York in the 20th century, any more than property prices falling in Seoul where 1/5 of all Koreans live, or Tokyo or Singapore. There is not an overabundance of household real estate in these cities (these cities are not in the hinterlands), and even in Jiading North in Shanghai new construction continues without letup with prices now at 30,000++ per square meter and eagerly bought up. The only investments most mainland Chinese can make is in their homes, land is owned and allocated by the government, so real estate prices escalate.

    I bought in Huangpu district of Shanghai at RMB8168 (easy to remember)
    per square meter when the exchange rate was RMB8.26:US$1.00. My wife and
    I are not Chinese nationals and we bought during that very narrow window of opportunity – it lasted about a year – opened to foreigners without the work qualifications now needed.

    The American housing bubble and the mainland Chinese situation are not analogous.

    • Kai

      Damn I’m fucking jealous.

      • ScottLoar

        You can well imagine I’ve heard all sorts of comments since I bought in Shanghai to the present:

        At first, “Who would want to live in Shanghai?”, and 八千多塊一平方米?他們在騙外國人的錢!;

        then “You were real lucky to buy when you did”, and 你真了不起, 很有眼光!;

        and now “I wish I had a place like this in Shanghai”, and 買得早, 賺得多!真聰明!

  • YourSupremeCommander

    Three years of 3500RMB each month saved… They could have used that money and time to go back to school, to learn a vocational trade or what not… to be better off financially. So that maybe they can ACTUALLY afford the house for real? Having just the down payment does not mean you can afford it. You still got to make the monthly payments.

    What they are doing is narrow minded, and simply DUMB.

    • Irvin

      Well I guess all they see in life is slaving for a house, if that makes them happy who are we to judge? I’ll continue to rent and enjoy my 55″ 3d tv, iphones, ps4, xbone and eat out daily…………don’t judge me.

      • YourSupremeCommander

        There is no fun in not judging.

      • mr.wiener

        aw come on…..just one little judgement?….pretty please?…..

        • Irvin

          I just did in another post and opened a shit can of worms.

  • Irvin

    What sad sad news, they could’ve saved more living in a hole in beijing.

  • catmando1980

    My wife and I did something pretty much like this in order to buy a house. We both worked two jobs, and saved relentlessly. I had $10 to last me all week. We never went out to eat, and never went on any vacations,either. In three years, we were having a new house built, and we paid 2/3 of the cost down. We never paid for anything that I could do-fix the car or the house, I figured it out. We got married in the living room of our new house, and later that day, we both went to work. I could go on and on about all the crazy ways we saved, but anyway, we lived like that for many years,saving all the time. Now, at an age when most are worried about whether or not they can retire, we are very comfortable, and money is not a concern. To live like this,though, both of you have to be of one mind; one can’t be a saver while the other is a spender.

    • ScottLoar

      Good for you. Now go on to read the comments by those who think people like you are materialistic, superficial stupid fuckers because you haven’t LIVED.

      • catmando1980

        I read them-all I can say is that it’s much better to live like this couple when you are young, than to be scrimping and saving when you are old.

        • ScottLoar

          When younger an older woman told the office girls, “There’s going to be a lot of old, lonely people”. 30 years on I’d add, “There’s going to be a lot of old, lonely and poor people”.

    • Rick in China

      Your implication is that saving leads to happiness in the end. I disagree. Many paths can lead to happiness and comfort, and sometimes those two terms aren’t shackled together either..but to imply that scrimping and saving until you’re at retirement age is the ‘best’ way to go is, in my opinion, misguiding youth. Everyone has to find their own path, for example, I went through years of spending a shitload of money while making a shitload of money, all the while knowing that it would be easy to come by because — I have skills that will always be in demand. Your advice may suit the incapable, but certainly lowers the quality and enjoyment one can get from life when spending what seems like maybe a ‘lot’ of money to most can bring so many amazing experiences — note, I’m not saying spending money on material things is wise, I’m saying spending money on *experiences* can drastically improve our quality of life in relationships, career, and personal traits like confidence and knowledge amongst others. Scrimpers don’t get those chances, and are essentially ants in human bodies.

      • don mario

        saving is a great thing. its not really something you can fault. extreme saving, sure. but saving a portion of all your earnings, no, thats just smart. its better to save some than none at all. chinese got this part right, just the whole working your entire existence for a house part is quite lame.

  • Wodowsan

    The Chinese dream?
    To have the populace sacrifice and work away their youth to buy a place that they don’t really own? A place they can only say is theirs for 70 years or until some government connected construction firm decides to take it from them?
    Sounds like the Chinese dream is to get the masses to sacrifice so the rich and powerful can make enough money to escape from China. No wonder they are imprisoning those who want to know the assets of government officials. “Don’t look behind the curtain!”

  • the ace of books

    What’s really sad about this story is that this cycle will perpetuate itself on them: got your house, but now you’ve gotta pay ongoing mortgage for years (without the house ever really belonging to you! what a cherry on top!). Got your house and mortgage: now you’ve gotta start saving up for the kid, that magical golden progeny that will Make Life Worth It. And if you don’t have the kid, why did you bother getting together? After all, the child is why you did all this, right?

    Both of these things have always frustrated me in China: the relentless, grinding, unreachably high prices of housing coupled with low salaries (A), and the insistence on The Best Of Everything for your Lil’ Emperor/Empress (B). Specific rants below:

    A: causes untold stress and difficulty on so many people, and either leaves them living a life like above – nothing but work in your life – or makes people give up before they start.

    B: add to the above stress competetiveness and disappointment if the child is not The Best Of The Best, and also societal shaming if you make any other choice for your kid – or (in an unthinkable move) don’t have a kid.

    Basically: I want to feel happy for this young couple, I really do, but I look at their projected future and my heart sinks.

  • TBL

    Fantastic achievement from these two. They did it honestly and through sheer love and passion, and now, they will always have a home of their own which they earned through their own merit, unlike some of the poor stupid fuckers who mocked this couple.

    They will be excellent examples to their children.

    • Irvin

      They will always have a house, and some bitter bitter memories of eatting cabbage leafs and slaving for that house.

      Their child will grow up repeating the same cycle, a slave not by chains but by thought.

      • TBL

        That’s your own assumption, which I think is very shallow and baseless.

        They made it a key goal in life to be able to buy a home together. Despite all the hardship, they made it.

        Their children will grow up learning that to achieve the bigger, longer term goals in life, one must be prepared to sacrifice short term pleasures and delay unnecessary gratification. And they (the children) will be much better off for it.

        You probably see renting month to month and enjoying short-term pleasures as a big thing in your life. This couple probably see getting a permanent home of their own as a big thing in their life. You can have your own happy memories and they will have their own.

        • Irvin

          It’s a point of view, and it’s not baseless, it was derive from reading the article just as you have.

          I’m not saying that I don’t understand their motive or your approval of them, I just don’t agree with you just as you don’t with me.

          “long term” is subjective, creating years memories is long term. Owning a house is another form of long term. But anyway, to each their own and I’ve grow tired of debating about this article.

  • ScottLoar

    The ones worse off are those who serve no appetite but their own, whose sole commitment is their own self, who think living is synonymous with goofing around and responsibilities a drag, who can’t understand the sentiment written on that valentine heart on the couple’s wall:

    Sorry!

    This is Our Home

    To My Old Lady;

    I made you wait too long…

  • Cleo

    They are good role models. Unfortunately, during the purges, people who earned their land would be categorized as landowners and it didn’t matter if they were nicer or more hard working than their non-landowning neighbors.

    • ScottLoar

      Now, anyone in China without a property is thought hopelessly poor, no matter they are nicer or more hard working than their land-owner neighbors.

      • mr.wiener

        This is why we can’t have nice things.

        • ScottLoar

          Nice things devolve to the hands that care.

  • Cleo

    I guarantee that their extended family members who are less frugal and went and had kids they couldn’t afford will resent them for owning some thing and will now call them the rich family members who must help out their poorer relations. Guaranteed.

  • Cleo

    Fujianese in New York pay off their snakeheads and by seaview real estate back home by eating mantou with a cube of fuyu.

    • KamikaziPilot

      Cleo! Sup bro! Long time no post. How come you don’t post at Goldsea anymore? What, no mention of Japanese baby rapists this time.

  • Germandude

    Completely agree. Add to that the huge amount of elder people that will either live with their children/die off and you have a lot of empty apartments and houses. (In fact, check out how many apartments are empty in Shanghai and purely built and purchased because of the hopes on rising housing prices.)
    Look at China’s population estimates in 2050 and you get a picture.

    A Chinese friend of mine, who happens to be an architect told me that a major reason for the poor building quality in many compounds is simple: They need the buildings now and know fairly well that many buildings will be demolished in 30 years again to build either office buildings or quality housing. And why not earning a second time on a 2nd built?

    • ScottLoar

      Germandude, look at the rate of urbanization in China, then look to my comment above to RickyBeijing.

      Of all the superlatives lavished on China the truest is this is history’s most massive transit from the countryside to the city. I said before and years ago, drive from Chongqing to Chengdu on the super highway connecting the two and look to the terraced hillsides, once tended for generations after generations but now abandoned to weeds and ruin. Those farmers now follow the highest wages in the cities, first Guangzhou and Shenzhen, now Shanghai, and they are amassing capital beyond any authority’s reckoning. Farmers in the Shanghai area are so wealthy they rent their fields to farmers from Anhui and such places; look out as you speed along the roadways to the fields and understand those farmers are not locals.

    • Alan Dale Brown

      If you look at the housing market in California as an analogy – it’s a bit complex.

      A handful of cities barely saw the housing price bubble burst. Palo Alto, Cupertino …

      Others have most recovered their value. My place in San Jose did, after a terrifying dive in price. I wish I had waited until the bubble bursted, but I don’t regret the investment now (3 years ago, well …)

      Places that never should’ve been valued high are still in the doghouse – Stockton, communities out in the Mojave desert ….

      It’s probably wrong to treat all real estate in China the same. Apartment on the Bund in Shanghai? Sure, it’s crazy expensive, but you’re probably okay in the long run. (I heard a significant number of houses sold in Palo Alto, CA are bought by Chinese in China – maybe they’re the smart investors.) Some of these other places? How much is a cement bin in a look-alike skyscraper stuck in smog-filled air really worth, anyhow?

      I’ve heard one difference in the dynamic, however; instead of borrowing so much from the bank, Chinese often pool the money from their extended family to buy property. Is this really better? A failure to make payment would hurt a lot of people. Also: housing price to income ratio is much worse in China than some of the places that saw bubbles.

      Scott is right about the rapid urbanization. Housing costs should be expected to go up faster than general inflation.

  • Peter Pottinger

    I’ve been working for 8 yrs professionally and am only now starting a mortgage.

  • Irvin

    There is nothing wrong with wanting, but wanting beyond one’s means is materialistic. What’s wrong with renting while being able to enjoy the little things like life like eating out and shopping?

    But you are right, weather they actually lived is subjective and my post is subject to my subjection just as your opinion that my opinion less agreeable than yours is your subjection to my subjectivity.

  • linette lee

    Most people in USA can’t afford to buy a house. The ones that bought the house get stuck with 10 to 30 years mortgage plus interest. Life in China not so bad.

    • KamikaziPilot

      Okay, whatevers linette.

      • Irvin

        Now now, we all know she’s stupid, but sometimes she still make us laugh.

        • linette lee

          You are stupid. You don’t make me laugh.

          • Irvin

            I know, humor takes intelligence to grasp.

    • Alan Dale Brown

      Home ownership in the United States in 67.4%, as of 2009. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homeownership_in_the_United_States

      • linette lee

        The people who get the house in this kind of market they get stuck with a heavy long term mortgage. No vacations or expensive clothes. Many use credit cards and are in heavy debts. Some eventually lost their house to foreclosure.

        • Alan Dale Brown

          A small percentage lost their homes, yes. I doubt it’s more than 3%. The lifetstyle in the US blows away the lifestyle in China, Linnette, aside from the few rich there.

          • linette lee

            That is probably true. Is better to live in USA if you are poor. USA has welfare. The rich and the poor have good life in USA. The USA middle working class suffer the most. You work your a55 off just to pay mortgage, this tax that tax and healthcare and university. Nothing is free for the working middle class. They pay the most and get the least. They slave away to afford a house.

          • ex-expat

            Living in the US is better no matter how much you make. China sucks.

    • YourSupremeCommander

      Yeah, 99.9% of the people of HK can buy houses with CASH.

      • linette lee

        Those are the corrupt China officials spending our HK donation money for disaster in China. They come down with the stolen donation and buy fancy apartments in HK with their mistresses.

        • Irvin

          I don’t understand, you’re saying 99.9% of people in HK are corrupt officials from china? By the way in case you didn’t get it, he was being sarcastic.

          • linette lee

            me too. ;)

          • Irvin

            no, you were responding to his post literally, you’re just stupid. Not ironically stupid, but literally.

  • Alan Dale Brown

    Assuming incomes, home costs, and rents continue to rise, this sacrifice may actually pay off for them (as long as they don’t get caught in a property bubble). The percentage of their income going to the mortgage is likely to drop, and they’ll have equity. That’s the classic argument for buying rather than renting. They went to extremes, but it may pay off.

    • ScottLoar

      I’m sure this couple, like most Chinese couples, has a keen appreciation and understanding of the math.

      • Alan Dale Brown

        Uh, yeah. Maybe. Or not. Whether they do or not, I hope it works out for them.

        My experience with Chinese (and other Asians) in the SF Bay area is they place higher importance on owning property than white Americans such as myself. Whether they’ve worked out the math or not, this tendency has generally served them well (some of them got burned by the housing bubble).

        I know a guy in China who divorced his wife in order to get around legal limits on the number of properties they could buy (they’re still together, they just changed their legal status). He owns six condos, and is working long hours to cover payments; he’s counting on this to allow him to retire early (property value is worth around $1 million US). It’s not exactly the sob story we see here. I’ll see if it works out for him. Or not.

        • ScottLoar

          But your detailed example is the very proof that “most Chinese couples have a keen appreciation and understanding of the math” whereas you recognize “they place higher importance on owning property than white Americans”.

          About 10 years ago a study of major Chinese corporations in East and Southeast Asia (excluding mainland China) by the Far Eastern Economic Review (now defunct for lack of advertising) showed that more than 70% of those companies’ beginnings and wealth were created from real estate investment. Real estate investment is a strong Chinese characteristic (Chinese typically invest capital into real estate no matter their profession or main income stream) as are ambition and diligence. Chinese are typically ambitious to be wealthy and work hard at it, and once wealthy start buying property – homes, storefronts, land – and will sit on it for years, decades even, knowing that amongst themselves that property will appreciate.

          I sit on two different properties in two different countries and it is Chinese demand that rockets my trajectory, as it does that of my Chinese neighbors. In Shanghai we are constantly reminded that should we want to sell please “tell me first”.

          • Alan Dale Brown

            Well – the question is whether it’s math, or cultural tendency. The math may support the cultural tendency, but it doesn’t mean every home-buyer worked through the tables, or assessed the risks. Here in California – in spite of the bubble – some properties have recovered to their peak prices; others are still quite dismal. I’m sure my divorcing friend did the math – but he is more highly educated than the factory workers in this article. He still may get caught in a bubble (he bought in Tianjin, which is not quite first tier, but close).

          • ScottLoar

            Let’s not quibble. Some here assume this Chinese couple is hopelessly dumb and assumed they can’t do the math needed to figure their investment. That would be most unlikely, and I never supposed every home-owner “worked through the tables or assessed the risks”; look to the example of Americans.

            And Tianjin is first-tier; look at the economic indices.

          • niggaplz

            Some people think first-tier city is less likely to be in a bubble. But this is wrong because everyone already believe that first-tier city is less likely to be in a bubble, so this belief is long-ago factored into the price. The result is more extreme bubble in first-tier cities.

          • Commander Jameson

            The subsequent recovery will be more extreme as well, as we have seen in many American cities.
            The key, as always with property, is “location, location, location.”

  • ScottLoar

    You seem dumb to the situation in the first tier cities in China (ghost estates?) and the examples in other countries at different times. It is not what “China” charges for housing (surely you know the government itself is trying all means to cool down the hot property markets and limit speculation; this is common news on Chinese tv and print media); it is the market price driven by demand, especially as China transits from a rural to urban society. And among those urban areas none are more desirable or offer more opportunities to the average person than the first tier cities, especially Shanghai; that’s why it has grown so stupendously but, again, typical of developing economies like London in the 1700’s, New York in the 19th and first half of the 20th centuries, and Seoul, Tokyo, Jakarta, Manila, Moscow, and on and on today. Shanghai to become a ghost town? It is its own economy as people, wealth, investments, light (non-polluting) industries, technologies, talents and services pour in to fill the massive hole of demand. The rich leave Shanghai? Those “rich”, many from hinterlands like Anhui and Sichuan provinces, make their money in Shanghai, their businesses are in Shanghai, their homes are in Shanghai; these are not government and military types relying on clout for bribes and scooting out of the country to hide their wealth.

    Sure, economic growth will slow as the capital base increases, but a collapse of the Chinese real estate market in first tier cities – or comparison with the US housing collapse which was driven by irrational and irresponsible funding, and the accountable paper (debt) then devolved upon the US government’s Ginnie Mae and Freddie Mac – is beyond premature, it is highly improbable.

    Again, look to the situation in the first-tier cities of China.

    • Teacher in China

      You should read more international news about China’s economy and the housing market to get a better view of what’s going on. Even real estate and property experts internationally are saying “we’re not sure” about China’s future. What they do know, however, is that local government debt is skyrocketing and that so-called “shadow banks” are causing a lot of problems. Complete collapse is not out of the question.

      • ScottLoar

        Despite my detailed comments here with examples and reasons I’m the one who should read more to get a better view of what’s going on?

        Real estate and property experts are saying” we’re not sure” about China’s future? That’s a safe prediction; no one is sure about the future.

        Local government debt is skyrocketing because the loans and consequent debt come from and devolve to the five government-owned banks, and 60% or more (I think that’s the figure but correct me if I’m wrong) of those loans are non-performing, meaning bad debts. But China is a state-directed economy and the bad debts belong to the state and not shareholders. “Shadow banks” exist because those needing loans like business owners cannot get monies from the government banks and invariably like the example of Wenzhou banks, some will collapse, but to whose disfavour? Not to the banking system which belongs to the government mint, but to private investors. Even the borrowers will win with a momentary windfall they don’t have to pay back although a source of future funds is gone.

        But the collapse of China? No authority can reckon the amount of capital being amassed in China by ordinary people, not the state, but by ordinary people, and they are the ones driving property prices.

        But, I’m the one who needs a better view of what’s going on? Read the totality of my comments on this discussion and get back to me.

        • Teacher in China

          Easy there ScottRoar. When I read your first comment, I had yet to read all of your other comments. Sorry I offended your ego about your knowledge of Chinese economics. Despite everything you said here and in your other comments, I still disagree that a meltdown of the real estate in first tier cities is, as you said “highly improbable”, which, by the way, sounds to me like you’re pretty sure about the future.

          • ScottLoar

            For the reasons I gave – mass emigration to urban areas, the independent, macro economies of first tier cities, the Chinese obsession with amassing capital and investing in real estate as a hedge against future uncertainties especially in mainland China where there is no provision for retirement other than one’s own investments, and the ever-increasing demand for residence and property in first tier cities- yeah, I’m reasonably sure.But you tell me what your referenced international sources note that continues to escape me.The changes in hu-kou registration almost ensures the growth of first tier cities and accompanying high real estate prices there.

          • niggaplz

            ya mass emigration to urban areas blah blah blah, these have all happened in Japan. Tokyo population density is similar to Shanghai. That did not stop Japanese housing price from collapse and wipe out all gains, and have not recovered after 24 years.

          • ScottLoar

            Oh my god! Revealed truth! It all happened in Japan and so the same will happen in China, and all this blah blah blah means nothing because… well, one moniker named “niggaplz” has cleared it all up just with the single phrase “blah blah blah, these have all happened in Japan.”

            Please, reveal your penetrating insight not to amateurs like myself but to the think tanks, economists and property specialists in both China and overseas who analyze, discuss and try to reach some conclusions about the property markets in mainland China. Billions, not millions but billions and billions of dollars are involved but all their blah blah blah can be dismissed, their analyses concluded, by your simple “these have all happened in Japan”.

            Yes, “niggaplz” gets it, he thinks he really does, so no more blah blah blah is needed, just look to Japan. Why oh why didn’t we think of that? Well, such is the power of “niggaplz” penetrating insight disallowed to most of us.

          • niggaplz

            Let me explain in terms even idiots can understand. Independent chinese and foreign economists believe chinese housing is a bubble. Real estate company paid economists, “property specialists”, real estate salesmen, economists on the payroll of banks selling mortages are trying to convince you that there is no bubble.

          • ScottLoar

            So, my thoughts, comments, observations and experiences are exactly what real estate people want me to believe, and my comments are blah blah blah. Once again, “niggaplz” penetrating insights not only allow him heightened understanding (he’s conversant at the highest levels of the discussion on Chinese real estate) but ensure that he’s immune to the idiocy that affects at least me: “Niggaplz” assumes he has original and independent thoughts.

            Uh, gee, I’m not sure of that at all… Looking at the bulk of your comments on any topic compared to mine, well, take a look-see, eh?

    • moop

      i’d agree that the american property bubble is not analogous but property prices can stagnate or drop in the top world-cities that you mentioned. in fact, it happened in seoul.

      i would say stagnancy in first-tier cities as the result of bubbles bursting in 2nd, 3rd and 4th tier cities would be more likely than an all out burst.

      as you correctly stated before, chinese more or less have all their eggs in one basket when it comes to their investment options. thats what makes the china bubble so scary, especially when considering the expansion of credit, m2 capital flows, the aging population that are all occuring in the chinese economy, not to mention all of the capital that will be diverted to combating china’s pollution, water and food problems

      • ScottLoar

        Yes, property prices can stagnate when values reach a point beyond which real estate investors and would-be homeowners cannot or are unwilling to pay (unless there is an infusion of outside money as occurred to the London real estate market by Arab wealth), and even decline as happened in Seoul but most dramatically Tokyo. But I argue first-tier cities in China have not reached those levels or circumstances, and the accumulated wealth of Chinese citizenry – and their ability to amass capital – cannot be reckoned by any index other than their ability to buy properties which remains impressive.

        Despite China’s aging population young emigration to first-tier cities, most especially Shanghai, as centers for services and economic opportunity (we see the same happening in many Asian countries now as we saw in Western cities in previous centuries – look at the growth of Chicago from a small fort overrun by Indians in 1815 to a metropolis in less than three generations) almost guarantees their growth, and reforms in the hu-kou system allowing outsiders to finally work, register, and importantly have their children educated in quality schools, will also drive this emigration.

        This is not unique to mainland China. Penang property prices have risen three-fold in 5 years; 7 or 8 years ago properties were cheap, cheap, cheap before people understood that reality. There are similar stories in India, especially Mumbai.

        The property burst in America was greatly aggravated by free (irresponsible?) credit, not only to new loan applicants but also to those getting second and third mortgages against inflated housing prices. That was a true bubble. The situation in first-tier cities in China does not seem to me to be a bubble, just damned expensive housing that beggars my imagination and yet I’m living there (some of the time); it’s all around me.

        Government capital will be diverted to combating China’s pollution, water and food problems, but almost all of that will be government’s capital. Private business will not become involved unless there is a profit, and the average Chinese citizen will pay in some fashion for these continuing problems but not enough to seriously reduce the individual’s capital base. Or I think so.

        • moop

          i’d still say real estate is certainly a bubble, there are 64,000,000 empty apartments there and speculation is still rampant. despite government’s efforts (which are half-hearted, since thats where most of the lawmaker’s own wealth lies), they still overwhelmingly rely on taxes from real estate transactions to finance their local debt burdens

          • ScottLoar

            Its hard to argue one way or another, because both ways only end in uncertainty. I do differentiate that-gargantuan-known-as-China from the first-tier cities, especially Shanghai. Prices can go to hell in a hand bucket in Xian or Guizhou, but in Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Beijing? Much, much less likely I think.

            But, ya’ know, I really don’t know, but at one point I knew enough to put my money down and it paid off. Would I do so now in China? Nope, but I’m not a Chinese citizen, I’m not reliant on China for income, and my puny capital is not constrained by China or culturally-specific unlike almost all mainland Chinese..

  • catmando1980

    Aren’t any of you guys here married? Practically from the start, when we first met, even before we were married, My wife would bring up the subject of getting a house of our own as we were driving back to our apt. from visiting one of her friends who already had a house. I don’t know about other women, but Korean women are intensely competitive about things like this.

    • ScottLoar

      What securities does a wife have? She marries a man, bears children, but without her own capital independent of her husband she relies on her livelihood and that of her children on the disposition of her husband (looking at some of the comments here do you think a woman should not have cause for concern about her future in marriage?). Title to property as title to jewelry (an Indian woman is married drenched in jewelry because it is recognized as hers alone) or other valuables is her insurance against poverty. Is it any wonder that single, unmarried women with children are in the main poor, poor, poor? A common occurrence in the West (look to the poverty figures and the characteristics of those who comprise the bulk of poverty) but in my experience most Asian women work to assure that reality is not visited upon them or their children.

  • Markoff

    what’s the point of surviving for the sake of ownership of property, does one paper make them more happy instead of enjoying life and living in rented place? because that’s the only difference they will get by owning propert – one paper

    • Irvin

      That’s what I’ve been saying for days.

  • Markoff

    yeah I find it funny these Chinese paying millions in mortgage for shithole in Beijing when they could have nice house and permanent residency included in price in many EU countries, what a joke these dumb uninformed Chinese, kudoz to rich Chinese for using their brains

    • Stefan Xu

      But you can’t just move, what are they going to work with in the new countries? manual work?

  • Charles

    It is such a sad thing to be Chinese. Surely, many other countries in the world suffer from many of China’s problems. But does any society pressure it’s people to spend their entire lives slaving to buy a small concrete box the way that Chinese society does?

    I applaud their focus and effort. However, how will they pay mortgage? Another few decades of hard work? Better hurry up! Before you know it, your government will force you to retire and then you will have your house and nothing more – and that is your whole life…

    Again, I have to say it… It is sad to be Chinese.

    Solution – let people rent! Don’t pressure them to live beyond their means and get strapped down to a piece of crappy real estate that will undoubtedly look like shit in 5 years.

    • Irvin

      In some cities in other countries, owning a house is a luxury and not a life goal. In fact owning a house in some cities in china IS a luxury but people here are too indoctrinated to the convention of owning a house and failed to see while it’s good to have much like expensive clothes and cars, it’s not a necessity to life or to live.

  • hess

    I wonder how high the mortage will be though?

  • Irvin

    Making 4k a month while wanting a house that cost 100k on down payment alone is wanting beyond ones means, not to mention eating throw away cabbage leafs.

    • Stefan Xu

      What wrong with eating thrown away cabbage leafs? Food shouldn’t be wasted right?

  • Irvin

    You think it’s true love? Girls in china are only as “true” as their options. She married him because she couldn’t do any better.

  • North-eastern

    And now what? They’re gonna repeat the same because they will want to have a baby. Spending 5 RMB a day, saving 3500 RMB a month for the next 10 years.

    I admire their pursuit of dream but it would be better to rent an apartment, live a better life, spend some on learning some better skills and in next three years they would sure be able to earn and save even more than what they did now.

    You do not always start from the zero. You move forward. If you’re not moving forward, you’re moving back.

  • ESL Ninja

    Education is certainly free, qualification sadly isn’t.

    • Kai

      I like your quibble for its poignancy and since it’s a quibble, I’ll add my own: education comes with opportunity costs so again, it isn’t free (though again a, I like your point).

    • Stefan Xu

      In Sweden it’s free for the Swedes, even university. You even get money to afford housing and food.

  • ScottLoar

    Exactly, and building expensive/high-end residences on limited and therefore expensive land is not unique to China. And the investors are Chinese who – I’ve recounted the reasons half a dozen times here on this topic as to why Chinese invest in real estate.

  • don mario

    going to school in china isn’t education, its propaganducation.

    • Yingzi

      agree with you,that’s why i dropped out of school,nothing you can learn from that hell except exams,…….and teachers also just care about your mark and your family rich or not…….all my classmates are still suffering at school,and they leading a shitty life ,and look dumb,really totally idiots,morons…….i feel sorry for them…….

      • DavidisDawei

        wow – your English is excellent for having dropped out of school!

        • Yingzi

          shouldn’t i?

  • Stefan Xu

    In Sweden it’s free for the Swedes, even university. You even get money to afford housing and food.

  • Stefan Xu

    But you can’t just move to a new country, what are they going to work with in the new countries? manual work? how about permanent residency?

  • The FRED FONG

    As China moves towards free market capitalism….people are free to make dumb decisions…consumerism has taken hold and many people will make bad decisions…they have taken the bait

  • whuddyasack

    These two have so little, yet they have everything.

  • Yingzi

    thousands of shitty news liked this everyday,what’s the point of the news?fuck,stupid cctv,brainless couple,i can’t see any happiness from that woman’s freackin pale face,and i can’t see any man’s feature from his husband,…..what they do now will just torture their next generation………..

  • DavidisDawei

    Regarding these folks, I salute anyone so disciplined…

    How is the average Chinese paying for these properties?
    If the average Chinese makes a fraction of the money earned by the average American, but Chinese housing prices are still going to cost hundreds of thousands of dollars (for an empty shell).

    I cannot imagine they’ve been able to save hundreds of thousands of dollars?

    Would the Chinese banks loan hundreds of thousands of dollars if the people make a fraction of what is needed to pay back such a loan?

  • Yingzi

    i think you can go to some Chinese colleges to see what those students liked,talk to them,get to know what they got from so called education……..i didn’t deny all of education,but…….from the result of Chinese education,i can’t see much good.and by the way, i am not a good debater,………and we can learn many things from many other ways…………..and about the financial questions,there are thousands kinds of jobs, should i write you a resume of my works experience for you?!only if i got my hands and my brain ,i can feed myself and keep moving.and last, i don’t have any generation,if i have one day, i won’t let them suffer from such education.if i can not get them better education then i won’t create them out………….

  • ScottLoar

    Interesting to see how land is being used in mainland China as of 2012; see http://www.businessinsider.com/chart-china-land-use-2012-11?IR=T

    The national land total is 9.6mn km2; that for construction is 331,000 km2 of which urban area is 39,000 km2, but urban residential land is 11,000 km2. Land for construction in the rural area is 292,000 km2 of which the residential base is 92,000 km2. Land for agricultural use is 6.6mn km2 of which cultivated land is 1.2 mn km2.

  • Dai Nam

    READ. they save 100k for a down payment. the house is not even pay off. that just for the down payment. they still owe a mortgage on the apartment. fking shity life. just rent it.. forget buying it and live a painful life. your health will be weaken if you keep eating instant noodles… in the end, you will die younger… not worth it

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