I bought a school district house in Shanghai
From 2020 to 2021, Shanghai officially implemented the “Citizen Enrollment” in primary and secondary schools, school district housing experienced a rapid rise, at the peak of the fever, a dilapidated “old public housing” price is almost the same as Tomson.
Time is everything
Zhang Lin is waiting for the final tussle. The time is on March 8, 2021, which is the deadline for her to sign the net agreement with the school district house owner in the deposit contract. A month ago, on Jan. 28, after a seemingly amicable negotiation between the buyer and the seller, Ms. Zhang and the owner fell silent, knowing each other that communication was useless when it came to money and waiting for the other to default first.
Last December, Zhang Lin, a Shanghai native, decided to buy a school district house near the Zhabei Experimental Primary School after looking at more than 20 houses in Xuhui Putuo Jing ‘an district. The house is 40 square meters, built in 1982, and costs 86,000 yuan per unit price — the price of the house in the school district is directly proportional to the education level of the nearby schools. Zhabei Experimental Primary School is located in the first tier of Jing ‘an District. The day she signed the deposit contract, she felt relieved. “It doesn’t matter to me if it goes up or down.”
From last October, Shanghai school district housing prices into a rapid rise channel. According to the data released by the square meters research institute, in 2020, Shanghai high quality double school district, nine-year system school district housing, the increase has been more than 20%, not long ago, a set of 37 square meters in Meiyuan two neighborhood housing price 7.48 million, the unit price of nearly 200,000, nearly two kilometers away from Tomson Yipin. More than one parent compared buying an apartment in the school district to “buying cabbages” — the time spent on hesitation was not in proportion to the price. Although Zhang had looked at many houses before she bought them, it took her only one day to sell, not because the house was so suitable, but because she would never buy it again. A few of the apartments she had originally wanted were taken down after a few days of asking. “Every time I checked [the real estate agency APP], I lost a lot of them.”
Compared with anxious parents, agents are more relaxed. Zhang’s agent told her that she had reached her goal of earning 500,000 to 600,000 yuan a year a few months ahead of schedule by selling apartments in the school district, and that the top salesperson in their shop had earned 1 million yuan. Landlords become absolutely strong party, the new Shanghai man Liu Jie once took a look at a set of school district housing located in Chuansha, just let the intermediary contact the landlord, the phone will “add a thirty to fifty thousand”. Zhang told me that only half of the homes on the market are ready to be signed for sale. The other half are owners who are “feeling the market temperature” and are ready to raise prices.
Zhang’s child is just one and a half years old, and Zhabei’s admission requirement is that the child has been registered permanent residence for five years. Five years later, at the age of six and a half, he enrolled in the district’s first tier primary school, and everything was just right. That day, on an education forum frequented by Shanghai parents, she posted that she had “landed successfully,” and all the parents in the post were saying “Congratulations to the owner.” But later, she told me, her story was no longer “positive.”
After paying the deposit, the price of similar school district housing soared, she saw the house price became more than 90,000, more than 100,000, later, “hang 120,000 also have, hang 130,000 also have”. A month later, the price of similar homes has risen by more than 700,000 yuan. She was a little panicked and had a hunch that it was not good. She contacted the owner and hoped to sign online as soon as possible, but the owner excused her because she was busy with work. Later, she simply confessed, “The price has gone up too much and I don’t want to sell.” Now, as Zhang ponders how to deal with the owner, she is once again on the road to see the house, and the owner is hoping that she will quit, so that her children can go to school, buy a school district house elsewhere as soon as possible, and give up the conflict.
Like many Shanghai parents, Zhang first made the decision to buy an apartment in the school district after reading about the new policy. In March last year, Shanghai implemented the “same enrollment for all primary and middle schools”, requiring public and private schools to recruit students simultaneously from primary and junior high schools. Unlike in Beijing, private education in Shanghai has long been recognized as superior to public schools. Part of the reason is that private schools enroll in advance, organize examinations and other ways to “edge out.”
In order to promote equity in education, the Ministry of Education has repeatedly emphasized the implementation of “common enrollment” in its 2018 and 2019 documents. This means that parents will have to choose between the public and private schools, breaking the old model of private, state-guaranteed admission. If they choose a private school and do not get in, they will face a change. No parent wants to joke about the stability of education. The enrollment ratio of Shanghai’s private schools dropped sharply from 3:1 to 1.4:1 after the implementation of the same enrollment policy, as more parents turned to buying houses in school districts to gain admission to elite public schools.
House prices went up almost overnight. Zhang initially wanted to buy a house of 2 million to 3 million yuan, but later her budget was raised to 4 million yuan and her requirements were lowered to “just enough for my family of three to live in.” She once looked at a house built in the ’80s that felt like a throwback to the’ poor, miserable ’80s. The house is all around the concrete wall, the toilet is squat pit, heard that the roof has been transformed, probably not very successful, the naked eye can see is tilted. What’s more, Zhang smelled a “rotten smell” as soon as she entered the room. ‘Were old people dying in there? She asked, the intermediary gave a negative answer, but also did not prevent Zhang Lin hurriedly leave the pace. Zhang’s agent, however, doesn’t think anything is wrong. According to Zhang, there are many parents who buy houses built in the 1930s or 1950s, and don’t even squat. They use public toilets and the wooden stairs in their homes squeak when they step on them.
Zhang Lin had seen a set of old broken small, she saw a layer of Zhang Lin
Take Lin Yue just got the house property card to say. Last October, she saw a school district apartment in Pudong that cost 50,000 yuan per square meter. A few days later, she decided to buy it, and the price went up to 58,000 yuan. Today, the number is 90,000. “Fortunately, it has been decided. If it hadn’t been decided, we would have been in a state where we couldn’t afford it.” Lin Yue, a 30-year-old young mother, thanks herself for being consistently decisive — she bought the apartment after seeing it only once, which she considers to be the fastest, most decisive and wisest decision she made in 2020.
For some parents, at least, buying a school district apartment isn’t complicated. People don’t think of school district houses as real houses, or real homes. They usually only plan to live there for three or five years and sell it when the kids graduate. Or buy the school district, rent out the house and rent a big house nearby. The process for parents is surprisingly simple – a list of Shanghai district schools is pulled online, and the higher the ranking, the more expensive the house. It doesn’t matter how old the house is, what type of building it is, or whether it is decorated or not — scroll down the list to buy whichever school district can afford it. As a result, each school district typically has only three or four houses to consider, which can be sold in a day or two.
Hesitance means a loss of money. Liu Jie, a new Shanghainese who lives in Zhangjiang, has been thinking about buying an apartment for his children since early 2019. He was interested in a house near Zhiyuan Middle School, less than 3 million yuan, looked around for two months, the total price of the house rose hundreds of thousands of dollars, can not afford to buy. By the end of 2020, buying a house is again on the agenda. He was interested in a house in Chuansha. When he saw the house in December, the price was about 2.4 million yuan. A month later, it rose to 2.82 million yuan. It was not a big deal. He had expected worse, such as the landlord reneging on the contract and a temporary price jump. Before paying the deposit, he even considered paying two or three times the deposit to the landlord, not only to show full sincerity, but also to raise the cost of default for the landlord.
In general, time is everything. Soaring housing prices have led to rapid changes in policy. Even if the decisive Lin Yue, also did not escape policy changes brought twists and turns. To minimize the pressure on her family by making a large lump sum payment, Lin went to ICBC for a tax loan, a bank subsidy for home buyers that typically carries a lower interest rate than a loan for a first home. But on Feb. 2, the night before the approval of the tax loan was due to be approved, Lin received a text message from ICBC saying that the bank was suspending the sale of the tax loan in order to cool down Shanghai property prices. She sighed, and who would have thought it would be so good luck passed her by. That means putting up an extra 300,000 in cash to pay for the house. It also means asking her parents and friends for help again.
The plan could not keep up with the change, and all steps had to be carried out by pressing the speed button. Liu Jie and his landlord initialed the contract a few days before New Year’s Day this year. It was originally agreed that the down payment would be made on January 20, but he couldn’t wait. On January 8, Liu Jie collected all the down payment and paid it off in a lump sum. After pulling the landlord for all procedures, waiting for the bank examination. By Jan. 28, the transfer was completed, at least a month earlier than expected. Like a coup, he accomplished the family’s main goal for the next five years before further price increases and policy changes. “We kind of bought early, otherwise now to buy again, would not be able to buy.” He said.