An ordinary family in Beijing would need to work for 25 years to save enough money to buy a 90-square-meter apartment, according to an academic report issued on Saturday.
The 2010 Beijing Social Construction Analysis Report, jointly issued by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and Beijing University of Technology, revealed that the average disposable income per household for urban residents in Beijing was 64,258 yuan ($9,483) in 2008, and the average housing price hit 17,810 yuan ($2,628) per square meter in late 2009.
The figures mean that an ordinary family would need to save for 25 years to buy a 90-square-meter apartment, Beijing News said Sunday.
Some local residents said the actual gap between average incomes and housing prices is worse than the report indicated.
"Only if the family ate and drank nothing for 25 five years could the dream come true," Wang Bing, 30, a worker at a foreign-owned company in Beijing, told the Global Times Sunday.
Though Wang and his wife together earn about 10,000 yuan ($1,476) per month, the couple still feels squeezed by the high cost of urban life.
Their budget includes 3,500 yuan ($517) for daily necessities each month, and a 5,000-yuan ($738) monthly payment on a 20-year mortgage for their 100-square-meter apartment.
"With about 1,500 yuan ($221) left, it's hard for us to think about giving birth to a baby now," he said, adding that the cheapest kindergarten in his community costs about 10,000 yuan ($1,476) a year.
In addition, the report found that the disposable income of the top 20 percent of income earners is four times higher than the bottom 20 percent of earners. The average disposable income for the top 20 percent was 50,816 yuan ($7,500) per capita last year, compared to 11,729 yuan ($1,731) for the bottom earners.
The housing price hikes have widened the wealth gap, the report said.
Average housing prices increased by 73.5 percent in 2009, indicating the increasing wealth of middle-class homeowners. However, the average income of urban residents has increased by only 10 percent.
Xiao Ying, 27, a translator in Beijing, is frustrated by increased housing prices.
"I kept saving money to buy an apartment, but housing prices kept going up faster than the money I earned," Xiao told the Global Times.
"Now that I and my husband have saved up 1 million yuan, however, we still cannot afford a 100-square meter house, " she said.
The report suggested that more government-subsidized housing is needed for 60 per-cent of the residents in Beijing.