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China Trade Mag (Chinese Trade and Business)

On-line survey reports more than half all apartments empty in major cities


More than half the apartments in Beijing and Shanghai are empty, the China Daily reports, quoting an online investigation of 100 Chinese cities by news website Sina.com.

Hainan rated over 70 percent empty, Beijing 66 percent and Shanghai 51 percent, based on counting the number of apartments with no lights at night time, on more than 1000 real estate projects

Lu Qilin, a Shanghai-based researcher at Uwin, said “Investors and speculators are the owners of the vacant houses as they wait to sell their properties at an appropriate time. It’s important for the government to introduce more measures to curb speculation.”

Pre-sales by developers has been restricted, third home loans curbed, minimum mortgage rates raised on second-home purchases, and down-payment requirements tightened on second-home purchases.

Almost 90 percent of the 10,000 people surveyed said property prices are still being pushed up by speculators buying several homes and leaving them vacant, and over 90 percent said unoccupied property numbers in their cities is high.

However, property price increases are slowing, with the rate standing at 10.3 percent in July from a year earlier, the slowest pace in six months, China Information News reported last month.

About Craig Hill

Teacher and Writer. Writing has been cited in New York Times, BBC, Fox News, Aljazeera, Philippines Star, South China Morning Post, National Interest, news.com.au, Wikipedia and others.

Discussion

5 thoughts on “On-line survey reports more than half all apartments empty in major cities

  1. I have read about the empty apartments too. There are also empty cities.

    China’s central government is gambling. The goal is to eventually have the same population ratio between rural and urban areas in China as Europe and America have so the Chinese are funding the building of about 60 empty cities and apartments in cities such as Shanghai and Beijing for that future migration, which has been taking place since the early 1980s. In the last thirty years, China has had the largest migration in history from rural to urban China but it isn’t over yet. Along the way, the CCP hopes to create a consumer economy similar to America with a huge middle class that may number as high as 800 million shoppers.

    Posted by Lloyd Lofthouse | February 24, 2012, 12:22
    • It seems also that many landlords have the belief that if they leave the apartments empty, the prices will continue to go up indefinitely. It is estimated that the empty apartments could account for 15% or more of China’s reported net worth, though accurate figures from China are almost impossible to obtain.

      Unfortunately, now that housing prices are coming down, it also has a negative impact on the entire economy, starting with housing materials manufacturing and employment in the construction and manufacturing sectors. The flow on effect could be devastating.

      Posted by Craig Hill | February 24, 2012, 14:39
  2. Interesting and great read. It’s hard to see such a vast amount of work go unused. Even in smaller cities like Ya’an where I reside its quite obvious that there is no one home or even living in some apartment buildings. Some places look as if the money ran out before the job was even finished. The hope is there but the stamina is gone. China is growing, but I don’t think it can fill up what they have built. Maybe a slight pullback on growth in the future?

    Posted by Nate | February 26, 2012, 00:01
    • The point is, the owners are deliberately leaving them empty to force the prices up. Most seem to believe that prices will always go up, and can never come down.

      You are also right about too many dwellings. It is estimated that there are enough apartments now to accommodate every person in China, and some left over, but still they keep building.

      Posted by Craig Hill | February 26, 2012, 00:18

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