How hard is it to buy a home in Shenzhen? Enough that having millions of yuan is a minimum requirement for a shot at rent-controlled housing, apparently.
The city’s first real estate lottery project, Shuangxi Garden Phase Three in Nanshan District, opened up to buyers Wednesday as part of an official attempt to curb Shenzhen’s fast-growing property prices, according to Sina Finance. With a required ‘admission ticket’ costing RMB5 million – and pictures of a waiting room packed with people willing to pay – however, the initiative shocked netizens.
Lottery systems are not a new practice for the Chinese government, which previously adopted the system as a relatively fair way to distribute highly-sought license plates and even places in top schools. In addition, Shenzhen is the eighth city to adopt a housing lottery system after Shanghai, Nanjing, Changsha, Chengdu, Wuhan, Hangzhou and Xi’an.
According to plans released by Shenzhen China Merchants Real Estate, however, buyers had to pay RMB5 million just to enter the city’s new lottery system. After being chosen, they also needed to decide on an apartment within two minutes, or else forfeit their win. In addition, only debit cards were accepted for payment.
The strict terms didn’t stop nearly 881 ticket-holders from queuing up: according to SCMP, some would-be buyers prayed at temples for a better chance of getting their dream homes. After opening up for purchase, the project's 167 units were snapped up within four hours.
The first lucky person of the day was a man in his twenties, who told Pear Video that it was the first time he had bought a home and that he felt very excited. He paid RMB17 million for a 205-square-meter apartment, which he felt was a good deal.
Yan Yuejin, research director of E-House China R&D Institute, believes the approach helps regulate real estate market transactions. He told Xinhua that lottery systems help to crack down on illegal sales behavior, including the use of connections and bribery to seal deals. In addition, the rights and interests of buyers from those cities are protected by the supervision of local notary offices over the lottery process.
Despite its benefits, though, Sina reported a lottery-related scandal just last Thursday in which government members used connections to get homes through a housing lottery in Xi'an.