Rental craze fuels Chinese urban village’s growing pains
Residents scramble to add extra floors to houses in hopes of cashing in
The chance of making money by renting out apartments has led to a construction boom in parts of Shaanxi as residents seek to extend their small buildings.
The boom has turned Xixinzhuang, an urban village in the southern part of the provincial capital Xi’an, into a large construction site. The local newspaper Huashang Daily claimed on Saturday that almost every building there was being extended.
The report also said construction work was going on in the city’s Ganjia village and Nanmen village.
The buildings in the village of Xixinzhuang were designed in 2005 to house 242 households and were initially three storeys in height.
But a worker at one of the construction sites was quoted as saying he was adding floors and the owner had asked him to “keep up with” a nearby seven-storey building.
Flats in the urban villages attract a lot of tenants who cannot afford to buy an apartment such as migrant workers.
One Xixinzhuang resident, whose name was not given, was quoted as saying rent was now his main source of income as there was no more farmland for villagers to work on.
He said an investment of 500,000 yuan (US$74,270) would allow him to add four floors on top of his building . This would give him 20 flats to rent out and, if he charges 1,000 yuan a month for each flat, it would allow him to break even in just over two years.