This Nail House Is Being Swallowed Up by Development… Literally (Photos)

Climbing down into the pit to their family home that used to be at ground level. (Image:
Climbing down into the pit to their family home that used to be at ground level. (Image:

A nail house is the popular Chinese name given to homes belonging to people who refuse to give into real estate developers due to poor compensation. Their places end up looking like nails sticking up out of the development that continues around them.

For the majority of these cases, developers typically offer relatively low compensation to the residents, reflecting only the pre-development value of their properties or the cost of obtaining alternative housing elsewhere.

Should residents resist, powerful developers can persuade local officials and courts to order residents off their land. In other cases, residents will be arrested on false charges or thugs will be hired to scare them away.

The latest nail house victim is this family in Yichong, Hubei Province. Their 3-story house, which used to be at a high point on the site, is now almost buried in the development area.

It is completely out of sight at eye level, and is now in a pit with part of the walls damaged due to demolition of adjacent buildings.

The owner says their house was built in the 90s and was refurbished in 2005. They were made a low offer in 2012 by the local government, according to After they rejected it, their power and water have been cut off ever since.

The family moved out for some time for the sake of their new baby. But their financial situation got tough, so they had no choice but to move back.

They have to obtain water from a river over a half mile away, and get light inside using candles and diesel.

Grandma tries to keep the house decent amidst the mess.


The remains of their family home that used to be at ground level. (Image:


Getting water from over a half mile away. (Image:


Grandma tries to keep things nice. (Image:


There’s no power so they use candles and diesel for lighting. (Image:


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