This is just a short note on a conversation that I had a few days ago with an entrepreneur who lives in Baishizhou. She’s a millennial, runs a small business, earns over 10,000 a month, and lives in Baishizhou. Why? Because she wants to buy a house in Shenzhen and living in an urban village is the only way to save money for the down payment. It turns out she’s not alone. Her friends who want to purchase a home in Shenzhen are opting to live in a village, while friends and other millennials who have decided not to buy a home are renting in housing estates. On her account, even folks who are making upward to 20,000 a month are choosing a village if they want to buy a home, while their colleagues who aren’t saving for a home are paying three to four more times a month, traveling, and spending their money and time cafes, microbreweries, and music venues. These are, of course, first generation migrants. Most second generation migrants have houses through their parents, who migrated to Shenzhen before the 2004 housing price boom.
Takeaway? We’ve known for a while that many nearby firms provide dormitory housing in Baishizhou, while many architects and designers who work in OCT firms have opted to live in the village for convenience. It seems, however, what we hadn’t picked up on (or has only recently emerged) is the extent to which the desire to buy a house in Shenzhen is shaping the way that millennials are inhabiting the city and reshaping the urban villages.