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澳大利亚偏远小镇“免费”送地皮,你会去住吗?

A Hot, Dusty Town in the Middle of Nowhere? We’ll Take It.
澳大利亚偏远小镇“免费”送地皮,你会去住吗?

MELBOURNE, Australia — From the air, the tiny outback town of Quilpie, Queensland, appears to be in the middle of nowhere. It lies on dusty land the color of rust. About 20 kangaroos sometimes take up residence on the school lawn. Summer temperatures can reach 113 degrees Fahrenheit. The nearest city is a 10-hour drive away.

澳大利亚墨尔本——从空中看,昆士兰州的内陆小镇奎尔皮似乎是个荒无人烟的地方。它坐落在锈色的尘土地上。大约有20头袋鼠有时候会在学校的草坪上栖息。夏天的温度可以达到约45摄氏度。距离最近的城市车程10个小时。

But Quilpie suddenly found itself the object of global desire recently when it unveiled a plan to combat a housing shortage and lure new residents by offering “free” plots of land.

但奎尔皮最近突然成了全球渴望的对象,因为它公布了一项计划,通过提供“免费”土地来解决住房短缺问题并吸引新居民。
 

对澳大利亚奎尔皮免费土地的大量咨询,证明了澳大利亚人的绝望,他们担心拥有住房正变得越来越遥不可及,也证明了全球可负担住房的紧缩。

Officials initially had a modest vision, hoping that five new homes would be built in the town of 575 people. But in the two weeks since the word went out on Oct. 11 via local news media, Quilpie (pronounced QUIL-pee) has received more than 300 inquiries, officials said, including from as far away as Hong Kong and Europe.

官员们最初的设想很简单,希望在这个575人的小镇上建造五套新房。但官员们说,自从10月11日通过当地新闻媒体发布消息以来,两周之内,奎尔皮已经收到300多件咨询,有的还来自遥远的香港和欧洲。

The flood of inquiries from home and abroad was a testament to the desperation of Australians who fear homeownership is becoming increasingly out of reach, and to the global crunch in affordable housing.

来自国内外的大量征询证明了澳大利亚人的绝望,他们担心拥有住房变得越来越遥不可及,也证明了全球可负担住房的紧缩。

“It’s been quite incredible,” Justin Hancock, the chief executive of the Quilpie Shire Council, who came up with the plan, said about the interest the scheme has drawn. “Some people are just calling up because they’ve heard ‘free land.’”

“太不可思议了,”提出该计划的奎尔皮郡议会议长贾斯汀·汉考克(Justin Hancock)在谈到该计划引起的兴趣时说。“有些人只因为听到‘免费土地’这个词就打电话过来。”

Yes, there is fine print: New homeowners would have to pay $12,500 upfront for a plot — but if they built a house there and lived in it for more than six months, they would receive a refund on the land value.

是的,还有一些细则:新房主必须为一块地预付1.25万美元(约合8万人民币)——但如果他们在那里建了房子并居住超过六个月,他们将获得地价的退款。

Mr. Hancock’s idea is a merger of two forces seen the world over: the need to find cheap housing and the push by small or waning towns to expand or inject new life into their communities.

汉考克是想把世界上的两股力量结合起来:寻找廉价住房的需求,以及较小或衰败的城镇寻求扩张或为社区注入新生命的动力。

Some picturesque towns and villages in Italy made international headlines by giving away dilapidated houses for a mere 1 euro in an attempt at revitalization. The city of Gary, Ind., too, sold abandoned houses for $1 to those willing to fix them up.

为了复兴,意大利一些风景如画的城镇和村庄将破旧的房屋以1欧元的价格出售,成为了国际新闻。印第安纳州加里市也以1美元的价格将废弃房屋出售给愿意修缮的人。

In Australia, two of the biggest cities — Sydney and Melbourne — are also two of the most expensive housing markets in the world. House prices have soared during the coronavirus pandemic, rising 11 times as fast as wage growth over the past year, according to an analysis from CoreLogic, a property data company. Sydney’s median house price is $1.3 million.

悉尼和墨尔本是澳大利亚最大的两个城市,也是世界上最昂贵的两个房地产市场。房地产数据公司CoreLogic的分析显示,在新冠疫情期间,房价飙升,涨幅是过去一年工资涨幅的11倍。悉尼的房价中位数达到130万美元(约合830万人民币)。

Quilpie, which is 543 miles west of Brisbane and whose primary industries are agriculture and mining, has struggled to get homes built because of a combination of factors. Banks require higher deposits on mortgage loans in regional Australia than in the cities, and the region has had a shortage of tradespeople, according to Mr. Hancock.

奎尔皮位于布里斯班以西约870公里,主要产业是农业和矿业,受各种因素的影响,这里的房屋建设一直很困难。汉考克说,在澳大利亚乡村,银行对抵押贷款的存款要求高于城市,而且该地区一直缺少工匠。

Mr. Hancock said he came up with the housing plan to address the shortage. While he doesn’t expects all 300 inquiries to translate into plots of land sold, he estimates that 15 to 20 buyers are seriously considering the offer.

汉考克说,他提出这个住房计划是为了解决住房短缺问题。虽然他并不指望这300个询问都能转化为土地出售,但他估计有15至20个买家正在认真考虑这个报价。

Because the pandemic is not over — Queensland’s borders are closed to other Australians, and international visitors are barred from entering the country — prospective buyers may need to wait a few months to visit the town.

由于疫情尚未结束——昆士兰州的边境对其他澳大利亚人关闭,国际游客也被禁止进入该国——潜在的买家可能需要等几个月才能来这个镇子。

But for those thinking of moving to Quilpie, the town offers a free swimming pool, a 24-hour gym, two grocery stores and a lake. It’s known for its opal mines, and the bones of some of Australia’s largest dinosaurs have been unearthed on its outskirts. Cultural events happen nearly every weekend, Mr. Hancock said, including “opera in the outback,” horse races and triathlons.

但是对于想搬到奎尔皮的人,小镇提供了一个免费游泳池、一个24小时健身房、两家杂货店和一个湖。该镇以蛋白石矿而闻名,郊区还出土了一些澳大利亚最大的恐龙骨骼。汉考克说,几乎每个周末都有文化活动,包括“内陆歌剧”、赛马和铁人三项。

Robina Meehan, 41, put in an offer on one of the plots even before she knew about the refund because, she said, “even $12,500 seemed too good not to take up.”

41岁的罗比娜·米汉(Robina Meehan)早在知道还有退款这回事之前,就已经出价买下了其中一块地,她说,“就算是1.25万美元也好到让人无法拒绝。”

There’s a freedom and self-sufficiency to living in a rural town that you can’t find in the city, Ms. Meehan said.

米汉说,生活在乡村小镇有一种自由和自足的感觉,在城市里是找不到的。

“Here, you can drill a bore, light a fire, kill a cow to eat,” she said. “Whereas, in the city, you can’t do any of that. You can just plant a little garden full of lettuce.”

“在这里,你可以打一口井,点一团火,杀头牛吃,”她说。“可是在城市里,你什么都不能做。顶多在花园里种种生菜。”

Ms. Meehan moved to Quilpie with her husband and two children 18 months ago from their farm in New South Wales. It was supposed to be temporary, but became longer term after many cities were placed into lockdown.

18个月前,米汉与丈夫和两个孩子从新南威尔士州的农场搬到了奎尔皮。这本该是暂时的,但在许多城市被封锁后,居住变成了长期。

“To get here costs money, and maybe your groceries cost more because of inflation,” she added. “But life’s so simple. Living is so simple.”

“到这里来要花钱,也许是因为通货膨胀,生活杂物的成本更高,”她补充说。“但是这里的生活太简单了。活着就是这么简单。”

Tom Hennessy, 24, who recently bought a plot with his fiancée, Tessa McDougall, said in a recent phone interview: “There’s no place you’d rather raise a kid and start a family. It’s quiet, everyone knows each other, if something’s wrong half the town puts their hands up to help.”

24岁的汤姆·亨尼西(Tom Hennessy)最近和未婚妻泰莎·麦克杜格尔(Tessa McDougall)在这里买了一块地,前不久,他在接受电话采访时说:“这里太适合抚养孩子、组建家庭了。这里很安静,大家都互相认识,如果出了什么问题,镇上一半的人都会过来帮忙。”

Referring to his friends who rent in cities, he said, “It sort of makes you feel like we’re going to be getting a head start on our friends the same age as us who probably won’t be able to own their own homes for a while.”

谈到那些在城市租房的朋友,他说:“这让你感觉我们会比同龄的朋友领先一步,他们可能在一段时间内都无法拥有自己的房子。”

The locals aren’t the only creatures who find Quilpie appealing, he said: Wildlife often wanders into town.

他说,不只是住在本地的人觉得奎尔皮很有魅力:野生动物也经常来到镇上游荡。

“There’s kangaroos and emus everywhere,” he said. “At the school Tessa teaches at, I think there were 20 ’roos living on the lawn.”

“到处都是袋鼠和鸸鹋,”他说。“在泰莎任教的学校,我觉得草地上住着大概足有20头袋鼠。”
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