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Dissecting China’s Property Market Data
Meiping (Aggie) Sun
World Economics, March 2016
This paper analyses Chinese property market data to evaluate recent trends in the market and to make prognoses for the future. It considers whether or not the existence of high prices and at the same time an enormous rise in residential supply in terms of floor space under construction means that there is a ``bubble'' in China's property market which may burst, similar to what happened in Japan in the early 1990s. Evidence that the price of new homes moves almost perfectly with sales of new residential floor space rather than with completed floor space suggests that the housing market is behaving normally and follows mini boom and bust cycles like other industries. The analysis finds that there are low maintenance costs for buyers after purchase due to the lack of annual property tax and negligible depreciation of bare-shelled housing units which limits the risk of default. Although recently developers are under pressure to raise more revenue mainly due to high interest-rate borrowing from shadow banks, the author considers that the probability of a systemic collapse of housing market is minimal given existing taxation systems, easing monetary policy and the continuing urbanization process.
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