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Housing vital for today's youth
Lu Jinbo, a renowned Chinese publisher, recently wrote in his weibo account that young people mainly traveled to four cities -Taipei, Tokyo, New York and Lhasa - before they reached the age of 30. He also wrote that a person on the Chinese mainland who buys an apartment before he/she is 35 years old will not achieve "great success" in the future, a claim challenged by many netizens, says an article in China Youth News. Excerpts:
Although Lu Jinbo didn't describe what he meant by "great success", many netizens have said he should not use such standardized terms to judge today's youth. Different people have different definitions of success, and we cannot define a person only on the basis of his/her success in economic social fields.
What Lu meant is that, instead of investing in expensive real estate at an early age, people should spend their time and money on traveling around the country and the world because it will help them form a better perspective of life.
Besides, given the skyrocketing housing prices in big cities, managing the money to buy a house at a young age will create a lot of pressure on people. Once they start paying mortgage, they will have to cut down their expenses on other heads and thus miss the opportunity to explore the world and aspire for higher goals.
But Lu should understand the reality of the times before passing such judgment. A recent survey shows that the average age of Chinese people buying a house is 27 years, whereas it is 42 years in Japan and Germany, and 30 in the United States.
Traditionally, Chinese people have been buying a house before getting married. And the soaring housing prices have forced an increasing number of people to buy a house at a young age because they think the longer they wait the more they have to pay for one.
Moreover, since China lacks a normative tenant system and rents are increasing at an alarming speed, renting a house is hardly a long-term solution for young people living in cities.
We have to understand why so many young people are buying houses before reaching the age of 35. Since social reality is different from what Lu perceives it to be, we should not judge today's youths' success only on the basis of their eagerness to buy a house. More importantly, there is nothing to stop a person who buys a house at a young age from achieving "great success".
(China Daily 01/22/2013 page9)