A Shenzhenian’s monthly housing expenses dropped from $350 when she rented an apartment to about $83, as the price of parking is only less than $0.30 a day.
Twiggy He’s house is less than 10 square meters. Of course, she can park it in front of her office and with its open kitchen, her bathtub and her electric piano it is the envy of her classmates.
With this refurbished yellow van, christened “YOLO” (“You only live once”, it takes He just two minutes to get from his bed to his desk at an online commerce company.
In addition, it allows you to save thousands of yuan a month in Shenzhen, the technological center of China and one of the most expensive cities in the country.
The 28-year-old woman is part of a growing number of urban youth in China who, after experiencing exorbitant house prices, are looking for an alternative.
Li Conghui en su casa rodante de Shenzhen. Foto AP
“I find living in a mobile home very liberating,” He, who moved into his new home just four months ago, told AFP.
“It doesn’t give me any anxiety about buying a house, nor does it make me feel like I need to settle down (…) I may even move to a new city in a few years,” he says.
His monthly housing expenses fell from 2,500 yuan ($350) when he rented an apartment to 600 yuan (about $83), since the price of parking is only 20 yuan a day (less than $0.30).
Some have the drawback that you are dependent on public facilities when you need to use the bathroom. AFP photo
It has the drawback that it depends on public facilities when you need to use the bathroom.
For Zhang Xi, who started living in a mobile home with his partner before opening a van reconditioning shop, cost was the main factor.
“Property prices in Shenzhen are out of reach for ordinary people like me,” he told AFP.
Digital marketer Twiggy He sits in her recreational vehicle (RV) in the city of Shenzhen. AFP photo
A recent study by a real estate market research institute points out that the proportion of income allocated to rent reaches 49%.
In the case of purchase it is even worse. On average, the price per square meter of a second-hand apartment is 65,000 yuan (almost 9,000 dollars), nine times the average monthly salary in the private sector.
Zhang and his wife plan to live in the motorhome as long as they don’t have children, saving about 3,000 yuan ($415) a month on rent and transportation to work.
This is how they hope to get the money they need to buy an apartment in a more affordable city.
The walls of office worker Li Conghui’s cozy white camper are decorated with drawings and photos of his children, who live with their mother in another city but have bunk beds in the vehicle.
Li’s in-laws disapprove of this unconventional lifestyle.
Twiggy He driving in Shenzhen. AFP photo
“My wife is the only one who is not against it,” says this office worker. “But the others don’t understand where I come from, they think it’s too unusual,” he explains.
Li has been working at home for a decade, but he doesn’t feel grounded in the city. “When I lived in a rented room, I didn’t feel at home every time I came back,” he says.
“But the motorhome is different. When I’m inside this private space, I have a feeling of belonging,” he says.
Zhang shares his point of view. “It’s felt like home to us,” she says. “It’s a place that really belongs to us in Shenzhen.”