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December 07, 2012



Speaking of which...

My wife's village is essentially an unfashionable out-of-the-way suburb of Guangzhou, these days. We were back recently for a visit and things are...strange.

There are some old fashioned, semi-derelict houses with absentee owners. There are also some old fashioned, run-down but somewhat maintained houses with elderly folks living in them.

Then there are the rest: new buildings, four or more stories high, built right out to the boundary to cover the maximum land area possible. Some of the buildings have one or two folks living in them; many are empty. There is a lot of construction going on, with the remaining former type of buildings being replaced with the later.

Apparently there is a rumour the area is going to be developed, and just as that GT story says, you will get ¥4k/m^2 in compensation for house floor space, but much less for land. So on a plot of say ~300m^2, replacing the old two storied house which took up ~50% of the land area with a four story concrete box which takes up ~100% of the land area will mean an extra ¥3.5m in compensation when the government comes and knocks it all down again.

You need to borrow about ¥1m to replace the ancestral home with a big concrete box. That money will come from extended family, without interest. You may or may not be able to rent it out at all, but if you do you'll be lucky to get a few thousand RMB a month.

This all seems...insane. On several different levels. There are a *lot* of big empty concrete boxes in the village, and more going up every day. That is a lot of money invested on the strength of a rumour, by people who can ill afford to lose it.

On the other hand, the local district party boss is one of the biggest "developers", and he must know something, right?

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