China’s housing affordability problem is so entrenched that the massive crackdown on the once-frothy real estate sector has made little difference for residents such as Qian, a teacher in the high-tech center of Shenzhen.
For nine years, she’s been sharing a two-room school dorm while saving to buy an apartment in one of China’s most expensive cities. Although prices came down about 10% after the recent market crash, her salary has been cut by 9%. She needs to save for a few more decades to afford her own place. “I was frightened by home prices when I came to Shenzhen, and all the big policy changes didn’t give me any hope,” says Qian, 31, who declined to give her full name discussing a sensitive topic. “The idea that I might stay as a dorm dweller until retirement terrifies me.”