Despite the deterioration in conditions, the abundance of apartm

ents and relatively low prices continue to attract young and first-time buyers, as

well as tenants. Sp

eaking in a range of accents, a substantial number of residents squeeze

into buses and the subway every morning and head to work.

Chen Mo is one of them. After studying in the capital for seven years, he chose to

settle in the city

after graduation. In 2001, he took a job with State Grid Corp, the national

electricity generator.

Initially, Chen rented an apartment in

Huilongguan, a crowded community in Changping district,

10 kilometers west of Tiantongyuan’s center, that was well-known for its

affordable property.

Served by subway line 13, Changping’s relative ease of access to public

transportation attracted Chen, so he decided to buy an apartment there in 2010.

After months of research, he discovered that he could buy an apartment of more than 100 sq m in Huilon

gguan for 30,000 yuan per sq m, which would only be enough for a home of 50 to 60 sq m in other parts of the city.

“Property prices doubled in Huilongguan in just six months, so I made the down

payment in 2011 without any hesitation,” he said.

Many others followed suit, so a dense population and heavy traffic congestion quickly became the community’s default setting. Ho

wever, without any industry to provide jobs and with few high-quality schools,

many people chose to leave once they had made enough money.

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