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Yanjiao: infrastructure in a boomtown

November 11, 2014

Yanjiao home price runs up to 15000 yuan. But Transportation and Medical Facilities are not keeping up with the city growth

http://news.xinhuanet.com/fortune/2013-10/24/c_125594524.htm

Source: Legal Evening Daily

When Beijing house prices rise, those on the periphery hitchhike upward. But is Yanjiao worth the price, with inadequate transportation and medical facilities?

Passengers in Beijing board the 930 bus to go back to Yanjiao (file photo)

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In the second half of this year, Yanjiao home prices once again topped previous highs to reach 15000 yuan per square meter.

When Beijing house prices rise, we don’t think there is anything amiss with prices rising in the Beijing satellite towns, such as Yanjiao and Gu’an, also. However, according to a real estate specialist, this sudden rise is not a particularly good thing for places whose infrastructure is weak, which are little more than “bed-towns” for Beijing. They build high price buildings, but these lack the necessary infrastructure.

Xiao Liu has been employed in Guomao (the Chaoyang Central Business District) for three years. He was planning to buy a residence in Yanjiao, but in the end, he didn’t pursue it at the right moment, and lost the opportunity to buy.

Xiao Liu said the one he had settled on was Wanzicheng, which, as it meets the 102 highway, makes the commute even better. Wanzicheng released a notice of when people could line up in numerical order to purchase one of their offerings. Because he was busy at work Xiao Liu could not go until after a week, but that day, because there were so many people in the line for numbers, they called off the lining-up.

A Wanzicheng sales representative said, on the first day to line up for numbers, there were more than 1700 people. The next week[the day Xiao Liu went ], there were more than 2700 people in the line. There were 800 residential units available for sale, so the number of people in line far exceeded that.

When they called off the line, Wanzicheng also readjusted the selling price. Originally the price was 13,000 to 14,000 yuan per square meter. But when Xiao Liu inquired again, the price had gone up about 1000 yuan, to 14,000 to 15,000.

The Wanzicheng sales representative said, initially the residences were offered in a semi-finished state, but the most recent sales offering changed to offering fully furnished deluxe residences, therefore the price was readjusted. However, Xiao Liu believes that if there hadn’t been so many interested customers, they would not have dared to change the price schedule even after they had put forward the public offer.
A real estate insider said it was not unusual for a real estate project to advertise a lower price to attract purchasers, and then later, after the formal public offering, to adjust the price based on demand.

Also, at present, the residences offered are contracts in advance, the building of them will not be completed until the end of 2015, when the purchase will officially occur. The regulation is that advance sale prices are to be lower, but at the time of purchase, it will not be so difficult for the seller to raise the price once more, to as high as 15,000 yuan.

Are rising prices for residences in Yanjiao justified? This reporter found that although the situation is improving, there are still deficiencies. In transportation, there is more traffic than the road system cam handle. Nowadays at rush hour the kind of traffic jams that are usual for Beijing, have also appeared in Yanjiao. According to a resident of Yanjiao, Ms Liu, there used to be only the #930 road to and from Beijing, with a bus arriving every 30 minutes. Now, as the Yanjiao population has increased, there are 10 more bus routes, on the 811, 812, 813 roads, etc. Most of the Yanjiao streets that link to Beijing have commuter buses, and these now come at ten minute intervals instead of 30 minute intervals. Even so, at rush hours, there are so any passengers that one very often cannot squeeze onto the bus.
With the increase in population, there are often traffic jams in Yanjiao itself. Ms Liu said that driving a short distance, say, the length of two city bus-stops, can take as long as half an hour. Often it would be faster to walk. As long as there is no rail or subway link to Beijing, especially a high speed rail option, these traffic jams in Yanjiao will continue.

Education: schools are over quota

According to this reporter’s understanding, if one buys a residence in Yanjiao one is given Yanjiao permanent residency. Therefore, in order to acquire a registered permanent residence, many northern floaters have bought homes here, expecting in one stroke to also solve the problem of their children’s education. But many of these people have found that the educational resources available in Yanjiao cannot keep pace with the demand.

According to a resident, Mr Yang, along Yanshun Road there are more than 10 residential districts, with a permanent resident population of over 10,000, but this area is served by only one elementary school. Therefore, in this elementary school, there must be 10 classrooms for every grade, with 70 students in each classroom, making it difficult to have good quality of instruction. At the Yanjiao #6 primary school near Yanjiao Park, the situation is the same. When it is time to drop off students in the morning or pick up in the afternoon, the whole surrounding area gets so jammed up that it is impossible for even a mouse to pass through.

Starting in 2012 the Yanjiao government has built one experimental primary school after another, such as Huadian Primary School, but in Yanjiao schools there is still an average of 55 to 70 students per classroom, far over quota.

Medical treatment:

As this reporter found out, Yanjiao has no shortage of hospitals, but they do not necessarily benefit those who live in Yanjiao but work in Beijing, which currently makes up 80% of the Yanjiao population. Those who work in Beijing have their medical insurance in Beijing. When they seek treatment in Yanjiao, they cannot submit their treatment receipt for a refund. If someone has a minor illness and sees a doctor in Yanjiao it is not a significant issue, but if by some remote chance they suddenly came down with a serious, acute problem that required immediate attention, that person would have to pay a large sum to a Yanjiao hospital, with no possibility of a refund. This would be an undue burden. Further, in Yanjiao one cannot get the same type of medical care one could in a large hospital in Beijing.

Heating:

Because of the many new buildings that have been constructed in recent years, the Yanjiao municipal administration heating system is overloaded. A clear example of this is that last year during the period of heating distribution, it was a common occurrence that central heating outlets never gave out hot air. Because of a lack of heat, many who moved into new buildings two years ago have not yet been connected to the municipal heating system.

A resident of the Yanjiao Xinghe [Milky Way]185 residential development said that after two years they are still not connected to the municipal central heating system, and the residents are afraid they will spend this winter in the same way as last year, stuck in what seems like an icehouse. Although they have repeatedly contacted the relevant government office, and even taken the extreme step of blocking the public road [see note below] to draw attention to their grievance, the problem has not been resolved.

As new residential districts are built in succession, and the population within them swells, the Yanjiao city government has clearly already reached the point of “a small pony pulling a big cart.” The steady rise of Yanjiao home prices has outstripped the reality of what the city can offer residents in services and infrastructure.

The Experts:

Deputy director Yang Jingui of the China International Economic Cooperation Society indicated that urban planning in Yanjiao has lagged behind the unrestrained real estate development boom, since it began in 2006. A real estate expert says that now that prices in Yanjiao have reached a high of 15,000 yuan per square meter, in the future it is quite possible that they will start to fall, making future investment by real estate corporations in Yanjiao a risky proposal.

Reporter: Li Lubin

Note: Blocking the public road: a protest in which the demonstrators walk side by side the length of a wide road, holding a banner, blocking traffic. These protests are broken up quickly by the police. The police use force, and sometimes strike the demonstrators in the course of clearing them from the road.

燕郊 Yanjiao,
固安 Gu’an
燕郊潮铭酒厂930车站 Yanjiao chaomingjiuchang 930 bus stop
睡城 bed-town. A town outside the city with residential complexes aimed at urban commuters, but without other services or amenities such as shops, restaurants, hospitals, schools, etc.
湾仔城 Wanzicheng
燕顺路 Yanshun Road
华电小学 Huadian primary school
据燕郊星河185 Yanjiao Xinghe [Milky Way]185

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