Business / Industries

A homebuyer's story: Long wait, then panic

By Zhu Lixin in Hefei (China Daily) Updated: 2016-09-12 07:59

After more than half a year trying, Song Ziming, 25, finally managed to buy an apartment in Hefei, Anhui province, about 300 kilometers from Shanghai.

"It was just so hard," Song said.

Originally from Huaibei, Song was recruited by a Hefei-based company in 2014 after he graduated from college.

"In the second half of last year, I fell in love with a Hefei girl, and I prepared to buy an apartment in the city," Song said, joking that he regrets he had not fallen in love earlier.

He had scarcely any savings, but his parents offered 200,000 yuan ($30,000) for the down payment. First-time buyers are required to pay at least 25 percent of the purchase price up front.

"I used to think a total of 800,000 yuan would be enough to buy a 100-square-meter apartment in the downtown area," said Song, who found out differently after inquiring with dozens of developers.

"The answers were incredibly the same: They don't have any apartments left, and new apartment buildings have not launched yet," he said.

His girlfriend, Zhu Linlin, added: "Sometimes the sales managers asked how much money we had, and we pretended to have enough money. Then the prices just scared us off."

Since the beginning of this year, housing prices in Hefei have been skyrocketing. According to data released by the China Index Academy, the average housing price there climbed to 9,968 yuan per square meter as of the end of August, from 7,577 yuan per square meter in the same period last year.

Having tried and failed, the couple had to give up on the downtown area. They learned in July that there would be a large community in the city's rural Feixi county, which lies near Hefei's outer suburbs.

"It was almost our last chance," said Song, who registered his information with the developer.

On Friday, as the couple were visiting Song's parents in Huaibei city, Song got a call informing him that the developer would launch about 500 apartments in a few hours. He had to ask his girlfriend's brother, who was in Hefei, for help.

Good news came early the next day.

"My brother succeeded in grabbing an 89-square-meter apartment, priced at 670,000 yuan," Zhu said. Her brother paid 50,000 yuan on site to reserve the apartment.

Song showed some photos taken by Zhu's brother and described them this way: "Hundreds of panicky people were lining up in front of the sales center, like starving beggars waiting for free food."

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