The Beijinger who called for people dreaming of owning their own home to boycott developers and build their own, has abandoned his project after six years of struggle.
Yu Linggang issued an announcement on his blog on Monday, which said he would no longer lead a collective of people wanting to construct an apartment building.
"I want to shout to those house buyers (who are interested in building an apartment on their own): Stop dreaming!" Yu told METRO yesterday.
"It is impossible to build a house on the North Fourth Ring Road with a price of only 7,500 yuan per sq m, not to mention even cheaper," Yu said. "Don't count on me!"
The 36-year-old former engineer shot to prominence after posting an appeal on the Internet in 2003, in which he called for the creation of an apartment building collective.
He asked people to boycott developers who made huge profits from the industry.
He said that if a group of people organized the construction of their own apartment building, the price would be 30 percent lower than the market price, because profit, advertising fees, and other costs would be omitted.
More than 600 people signed cooperative contracts with Yu in 2005 and a company was established to operate the project.
"I cannot afford an 80 sq m apartment in Beijing, unless my family stops eating and drinking for 20 years," Zhang Li, a retired doctor said, "I support Yu's idea."
But Yu and his company failed to purchase land for the project. From 2005 to 2008, Yu tried to purchase five parcels of land but failed because Yu was short of money compared with powerful property developers.
"Yu's efforts can hardly bring him success," Gu Yunchang, vice-chairman of China Real Estate And Housing Research Association. "Without the support from Beijing's government, building apartments by individuals is difficult, because they have no advantage over property developers."
Gu said Beijing's government would only support house buyers with low income, and participants in Yu's company were not low-income individuals.
He said house prices have surged to 25,000 yuan per sq m on the North Fourth Ring Road, and the average price that the group would have to pay is still around 16,000 yuan per sq m.
Despite the announcement, Yu said that he might try and organize a group of people to build in Beijing's suburbs.