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Rising Home Prices Send China's 'rat Race' Scurrying Underground

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http://uk.reuters.com/article/2014/01/06/uk-china-property-basement-idUKBREA0508N20140106

Zig-zagging left and right through a maze of dark, narrow corridors in a high-rise's basement, 35-year-old kitchen worker Hu has joined the many thousands of Chinese fleeing fast-rising property prices by heading down - down underground.

Hu lives here beneath an affluent downtown apartment building, in a windowless, 4 square-meter (43 square-foot) apartment with his wife. For 400 yuan ($65.85) a month in rent, there's no air-conditioning, the only suggestion of heat is a pipe snaking through to deliver gas to the apartments above and the bathroom is a fetid, shared toilet down the hall.

"I can't afford to rent a house," said Hu as he showed off his meager appointments. Living in basement apartments isn't illegal in China, but like anywhere else it is nothing to brag about and Hu, who guts fish for 2,500 yuan a month at a popular Sichuanese hotpot restaurant on the street above, declined to provide his given name. "If I weren't trying to save money, I wouldn't live here," he said.

Locals have dubbed Hu and his fellow subterranean denizens the "rat race" - casualties and simultaneously emblems of a housing market beyond the government's control.

Despite efforts to discourage property speculation and develop affordable housing, a steady stream of job-seekers from the countryside and a lack of attractive investment alternatives have kept prices soaring. Residential property prices rose 10 percent in November from the same month of 2012, according to data released last week, and have been setting new records every year since 2009. Prices in Beijing are rising even faster - 16 percent a year - with rents climbing 12 percent a year.

Prices soaring, reporters love stating that.

So underground living for the proles once again.

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http://uk.reuters.com/article/2014/01/06/uk-china-property-basement-idUKBREA0508N20140106

Prices soaring, reporters love stating that.

So underground living for the proles once again.

The Chinese have a great history of building underground structures. I have a great book on the subject

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Urban-Underground-Space-Design-China/dp/0874133459/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1389041988&sr=8-1&keywords=0874133459

Not to forget ... :)

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