Best of the Week
Most Popular
1.US Dollar Crashes, Gold And Bitcoin Skyrocket As Economic Recovery Lie Is Exposed - Jeff_Berwick
2.Now Obama Warns Americans to ‘Be Prepared’ for Disaster… What Does He Know? - Jeff_Berwick
3.EU Referendum - Britain's Immigration / Migrant Crisis Explained - Nadeem_Walayat
4.EU Referendum - British People vs Establishment Elite, Vote LEAVE an Act of Defiance! - Nadeem_Walayat
5.Prominent Billionaire Investors Warn of Financial Crash, Quietly Position Themselves - MoneyMetals
6.Bankers Warn of BrExit Financial Armageddon if British People Vote for Freedom - Nadeem_Walayat
7.Bad U.S. Jobs Report Prompts Stocks Bear Market Rally Towards New All Time Highs! - Nadeem_Walayat
8.Gold And Silver – Friday May Have Marked A Pivotal Turnaround - Michael_Noonan
9.EU Referendum - British People vs Establishment Elite, the Illusion of Democracy and Freedom - Nadeem_Walayat
10.Felix Zulauf: Monetary Stimulation Creates Bubbles, Not Prosperity Nor Growth - GoldandLiberty
Free Silver
Last 7 days
First the UK, then Scotland ... then Texas? - 26th June 16
Stocks Bear Market Resumes or Just More Noise - 26th June 16
Gold And Silver: Security, And BREXIT - 25th June 16
Dow, Euro & Brexit Recap - 25th June 16
Resistance Holding Gold Stocks after Brexit - 25th June 16
Venezuela vs. Ecuador (Chavismo vs. Chavismo Dollarized) - 25th June 16
Gold, Silver And PM Stocks Summer Doldrums Risk - 24th June 16
Here’s Why China “Economic Hard-Landing” Worries Are Overblown - 24th June 16
Jubilee Jolt: Markets Crash, Gold Skyrockets as Britain Takes Brexit - 24th June 16
BrExit Morning - New Dawn for Britain, Independence Day! - 24th June 16
LEAVE Wins EU Referendum - Sterling and FTSE Hit Hard, Pollsters, Bookies and Markets All WRONG! - 24th June 16
Trading BrExit - British Pound Plunges, FTSE Stock Futures Slump on LEAVE Shock Referendum Win - 24th June 16
EU Referendum Shock Results Putting BrExit LEAVE in the Lead Hitting Sterling Hard - 24th June 16
Final Opinion Poll Gives REMAIN 52% Lead, Bookmakers, Markets and Pollsters ALL Back REMAIN Win - 23rd June 16
Does BREXIT Matter? Outlook for Sterling - 23rd June 16
Keep Calm and Vote BrExit - Last Chance to Break Free of EU Superstate - 23rd June 16
Here’s the Foreign Policy Trump and Clinton Really Want - 23rd June 16
Details Behind Semiconductor Stocks Leadership - 23rd June 16
Trading BrExit - Stocks, Bonds, Sterling, Opinion Polls, Bookmaker Odds and My Forecast - 23rd June 16
BrExit Looks Set to Win EU Referendum, Final Opinion Polls Give LEAVE Lead Over REMAIN - 22nd June 16
Proof that the Gold Bears are Wrong - 22nd June 16
Here’s a Trillion-Dollar Investment Opportunity for Those Few with No Debt - 22nd June 16
BrExit to Save Europe from Climate Change Refugee Migration Apocalypse - 22nd June 16
Increase In U.S. Rig Count Will Not Cap Oil Prices - 22nd June 16
Are Copper and China Stocks Set to Rally? - 22nd June 16
SPX May Break Its Trendline - 22nd June 16
Believe it or Not: More Kids Live At Home Now than Since The Great Depression - 21st June 16
EU Referendum Latest Opinion Polls Show LEAVE Halting REMAINs Surge - 21st June 16
British Pound Outlook - BREXIT, Europe and You - Does your vote matter? - 21st June 16
Fascist Victory Behind the European Union - 21st June 16
EU Referendum Opinion Polls Analysis Shows Strong Momentum in REMAINs Favour - 21st June 16
Is It Time to Dump Gold and Buy Platinum? - 21st June 16
Could Central Bankers Be Gold and Silver's BIGGEST Allies? - 20th June 16
Words Still Mean Things – Brexit With Graham Mehl - 20th June 16
Baroness Warsi the Manchurian Candidate Quits LEAVE for REMAIN, Boris Johnson Next? - 20th June 16
FTSE Soars, Stock Markets Bounce on LEAVE Polls Surge, Bookmakers Widen BrExit Odds - 20th June 16
Brexit Would Trigger Devolution of Europe - 20th June 16
Stock Market Week Of Uncertainty - 20th June 16
Will Gold’s Bullish Price Chart Outperform Gold’s 5 Bearish Indicators? - 20th June 16
Bonds And Stocks At All-Time Highs: Are Markets Confused Or Broken? - 20th June 16
Silver Sleeping On the Job - 19th June 16
BrExit Odds Sink, REMAIN Polls Boost by Jo Cox Killing by Radical Right Extremist, Conspiracy? - 19th June 16
How Elliott Waves Tell You When to "Jump In" & When to "Jump Out" of Markets - 18th June 16
Stock Market Inflection Point During Bifurcation - 18th June 16
Gold And Silver – Insanity Is World “Norm.” Keep Stacking! - 18th June 16
Gold Stocks - Bull Markets that Follow Epic Bears - 18th June 16
The Fed Giveth and the Gold Bullion Banks Taketh Away… - 17th June 16
Brexit: "The Vote Heard Around the World" - 17th June 16
Gold Stocks Summer Breakout? - 17th June 16
Stock Investors Get Higher Returns and More Dividend Income - In Less Time With Less Risk - 17th June 16
How to Use the Gold-to-Silver Ratio? - 17th June 16
Inflation, Deflation & Associated Trading Prospects - 17th June 16
Overnight Markets Struggling to Stay Flat - 17th June 16
Gold Price Surges to Highest in Nearly Two Years On Central Bank and Brexit Haven Demand - 17th June 16
Stock Market Thinking Upside Down; Dow 18k Still Key - 17th June 16
Jo Cox MP Terror Attack Killing Claimed for "Britain First" - Witness Report - 17th June 16
Stock Market, Iron Ore, Bitcoin – Is Silver Next for Chinese Momentum Investors? - 16th June 16
EU Referendum Campaigning Suspended Following Shooting of MP Jo Cox, Suspect Named as Tommy Mair - 16th June 16
Why People are Migrating to the UK, Illegal Immigration, Housing Crisis Consequences - 16th June 16
Stocks Fluctuate Following Recent Decline - Bottom Or Just Pause Before Another Leg Down? - 16th June 16
The US Consumer-Driven Economy Has Hit a Brick Wall - 16th June 16
Bitcoin Price Going Parabolic Again, Now At $730 and Up 60%+ In Last Three Weeks - 16th June 16
China's Hard Landing Has Already Begun! - 16th June 16
Crude Oil Price - Oil Bears vs. Support Zone - 16th June 16
Central Bankers Are Wrong About Inflation and Deflation - 15th June 16
Alignment Of The Dow, Interest Rates, Debt and Silver Cycles Will Deliver A Fatal Blow - 15th June 16
Stock Market Bounce May be Over - 15th June 16
EU Referendum: Have the Bookmakers Got it Wrong? LEAVE Opinion Polls Lead - 15th June 16
Gold Price Rally - 15th June 16
How to Invest for Brexit Report - 15th June 16
Stock Market Short of the Decade? - 15th June 16
Stock Market Sell Off Coming! - 14th June 16
QE - The Good, Bad & Ugly - 14th June 16
This Demographic Shift Makes Our Social Security Useless - 14th June 16
Gold Stocks Ultimate Objective in a World of Monetary Transition - 14th June 16
Philosophy of the New World Order - 14th June 16
The Brexit Game - Boris Johnson vs David Cameron EU Referendum Zombies - 14th June 16
EU Referendum: LEAVE Opinion Poll Lead of 51% to 49% Whilst Bookmaker Odds Still Strongly Favour REMAIN - 14th June 16
George Soros Making Big Bets on Gold - 14th June 16

Free Instant Analysis

Free Instant Technical Analysis


Market Oracle FREE Newsletter

Why 95% of Traders Fail

China Real Estate Burgeoning Bubble Special Report

Housing-Market / China Economy Oct 15, 2009 - 03:13 PM GMT

By: John_Mauldin

Housing-Market

Best Financial Markets Analysis ArticleToday I offer you an insightful look at China's real estate market - a "burgeoning bubble" that deserves a close eye as the possibility for breaking increases. Remember the chaos in Japan after their own housing dreamscape got violently yanked back to earth? As investors, we have to recognize opportunities - and know what to avoid. With a global economic crisis - and now surging housing prices in China - investors in any global market need to keep watch on political and economic developments around the world.


Today's analysis comes courtesy my friends at STRATFOR, a global intelligence company. They provide unique and on-the-money analysis and forecasts on all things global, essential for any alternative investment strategy. They've got a free newsletter as well, for which I encourage you to sign up by clicking here - so you're not limited to my caprice.

John Mauldin
Editor, Outside the Box

The China Files (Special Project): Real Estate

Summary

The real estate market in China, particularly the residential side, is a burgeoning bubble that is growing bigger and more breakable by the day. Land and housing prices were already rising steadily when Beijing's stimulus package hit the sector in early 2009. Now prices are surging, with developers, bureaucrats and investors cashing in while urban Chinese - once encouraged to invest in home ownership by the central government - become less and less able to buy.

Editor's Note: This analysis is part of a series that explores China's industry, finance and statistics.

Analysis

The China Files (Special Project)

PDF Version: Click here to download a PDF of this report

On Sept. 10, China Overseas Land and Investment, a Hong Kong-listed company and a subsidiary of state-owned China State Construction Engineering Corp., purchased a prime piece of real estate in the Putuo district in downtown Shanghai. The company paid 7.006 billion yuan ($1.026 billion) for the undeveloped property, which will amount to an average of 22,409.3 yuan ($3,283.9) per square meter of floor space (just in land costs) once the designed residential building is constructed.

The purchase created China's newest "land king," a term for the real estate developer who pays the highest price for a piece of real estate during a land auction. And 7.006 billion yuan was the highest price ever paid for a piece of Chinese real estate for any purpose - residential or commercial. The milestone is a result of an increasingly intense competition for land in major cities that began early in the year, when Beijing began distributing stimulus money to various industries - including the real estate sector - to sustain the economy. As a result, land prices have soared throughout China. And with increasing speculative investment in residential real estate, the market faces a surging bubble that jeopardizes the country's long-term economic development.



Since 1998, real estate investment in China has accounted for more than 10 percent of the country's gross domestic product (GDP), compared to only 3 percent to 5 percent in the United States. Such investment is also closely associated with many other industries, such as construction and finance, and it provides an abundance of jobs. Therefore, it is seen as a critical pillar of China's economy and enjoys favorable policies from the government and state-owned banks (more than 70 percent of real estate investment in China comes from bank loans). At the same time, real estate developers, local government officials and investors have escalated housing prices across the country by acquiring massive land holdings, limiting the supply and inflating prices, creating a real estate bubble that is not sustainable in the long run.

The bubble has grown mainly on the residential side of the market, where there is more demand and higher profits to be made. However, while fewer developers and investors have been chasing nonresidential projects, Beijing's 4 trillion yuan ($586 billion) stimulus package in early 2009 has generated more interest and activity in the commercial side. Indeed, there are signs that commercial real estate may also be headed for a bubble, and STRATFOR will be watching the situation closely.



Origins of the Bubble

Since 1978, China's pace of urbanization has increased dramatically, with the number of middle-size and large cities (those having nonagricultural populations of more than 200,000) growing rapidly. Beginning in 1985, economic reforms implemented in urban areas to make China's planned economy more market-oriented added even more momentum to the real estate boom, with real estate investment increasing by 71 percent by 1987. The government's macroeconomic policy of monetary belt-tightening helped cool this overheated market, which was further tempered by the government's continuing to provide housing for state employees (fu li fen fang, or "welfare housing").

However, when the state significantly cut back on its welfare housing program in 1998, the Chinese perception of personal property changed, and this would have an important impact on the real estate sector. The government began this privatization process by making a private dwelling a "commodity" and granting the purchaser the right to own a newly built house for 70 years. (Likewise, the developer who buys the property on which residential or commercial buildings are to be constructed may own that property for 70 years.) Home ownership in China could now be a sound financial investment.

Thus, the residential real estate market would boom in almost every urban area in China - and particularly in the "first-tier" and "second-tier" cities (only Beijing, Shenzhen, Guangzhou and Shanghai are in the first tier, with more than 20 cities, and mostly provincial capitals or coastal ports are in the second tier). But rising land prices would eventually put housing prices out of reach for the general public. In Dongguan, a coastal second-tier city in Guangdong province, land prices averaged 4,957 yuan ($726.42) per square meter in 2007, a more than 500 percent increase from 2003, while personal disposable income increased 24 percent during the same period (from 20,526 yuan [$3,008] to 27,025 yuan [$3,960] per year).

A 2006 survey conducted by the National Development and Reform Commission showed that the average ratio between housing prices and income was approaching 12:1 in many large and middle-size cities in China (in Beijing it had reached 27:1). Twelve to one is significantly higher than the World Bank's suggested affordability ratio of 5:1 and the United Nations' 3:1. The problem was compounded by the fact that, of the more than 80 percent of Chinese who owned their own homes in urban areas (generally considered cities with populations of more than 20,000), 54.1 percent were making monthly mortgage payments that constituted 20 percent to 50 percent of their monthly incomes.

The Recovery Bubble

Following a temporary drop toward the end of 2007, land prices rose steadily, then began surging again with Beijing's stimulus package and a flood of easy credit in 2009. With much of this money flowing into the real estate sector, major beneficiaries included large state-owned enterprises (SOEs) involved in speculative real estate and housing investment, contributing to the inflating bubble. Among the 10 highest-priced land purchases in major cities in the first half of 2009, 60 percent went to SOEs.

Paradoxically, as the global financial crisis continues, China sees little choice but to loosen its monetary policy even further, fearing the opposite would curtail economic growth and result in massive unemployment, which could lead to social instability. Beijing knows that one of the country's underlying economic problems continues to be an overheated real estate market, but it also knows that the real long-term solution - limiting the flow of cash and credit - could have dire socio-economic ramifications. Meanwhile, real estate developers, government officials and investors continue to speculate on real estate, raising land and housing prices.

As housing prices continue to rise, a parallel trend is manifesting itself - rising vacancy rates in urban areas. A 2009 report by the Shanghai Yiju Real Estate Research Institute revealed that, by the end of 2008, the average vacancy rate for "commodity housing" (as opposed to welfare housing) in Beijing was 16.64 percent, and vacancies reached as high as 30 percent in some districts. Most of these vacant houses, however, are not unsold ones. They have been purchased by investors as speculative investments. While there are fewer and fewer ordinary people who can afford to buy houses, there is still excessive demand for investment housing - pressure that continues to drive up the prices.

This closed loop in the Chinese real estate market is facilitated by the country's political and bureaucratic system. In China, all land is initially owned by the state, and local governments have the sole authority to sell it. And income from property taxes and land sales are a primary source of revenue for local jurisdictions. According to estimates by the State Council's Development and Research Center, tax revenue from the land in some jurisdictions accounts for 40 percent of the local budget. Moreover, net income from land sales accounts for more than 60 percent of the local governments' extra-budgetary revenue. The soft budget and lack of accountability to the people reinforces the local governments' incentive to expand their real estate investments without much concern for cost or impact on public services.

Economic performance also is the prime prerequisite for bureaucratic advancement, which gives local officials the incentive to generate as much revenue as possible through land auctions. And this generally involves a level of collusion - and corruption - among government officials, real estate developers and investors.

One typical strategy is for a developer to buy a big chunk of urban land from the local government but leave the land undeveloped, or build on only a small portion of it, thereby keeping the housing supply limited. Despite various state policies to lower land prices in order to make homes more affordable, local government officials and real estate developers control the land auctions. When a lower sale price is dictated from above, it is easy enough for the local sponsors to officially deem the auction a failure. Even when the developer does build houses on the property, a speculative investor, working hand in hand with the developer and government officials, can bribe both parties to ensure that he can buy all the houses at a low volume price and keep them off the market, thereby maintaining a limited supply and high prices.

Another factor that enters the equation is a cultural one. The Chinese people generally prefer to buy new houses, as opposed to renting homes or buying secondary houses in which people have already lived. Indeed, in urban areas, marriage proposals often include a promise to buy a new commodity house. As a result, the secondary housing market remains very small in comparison (due also to fewer available bank loans for lived-in houses and the complicated process involved in transferring ownership).

All of these factors contribute to the burgeoning real estate bubble - and make it difficult to predict when that bubble will burst. With 70 percent of real estate investment in China coming from bank loans, a dramatic drop in land values could send shock waves throughout the economy. There are already signs of decline. In Shenzhen, one of China's first-tier cities, real estate prices have been dropping for the past two years (30 percent for housing), and many developers and speculators have suffered great losses. The threat looms in other large cities such as Beijing and Shanghai and may be emerging in many second-tier cities as well.

Given the current global economy and the economic balancing act it must maintain domestically, Beijing has few good choices. It must keep enough cash flowing to maintain economic growth and social stability in the short term while tightening credit to avoid a tsunami of bad loans and a market collapse over the long term. Certainly, Beijing does not want to face the kind of collapse in the housing market that Japan experienced in the 1990s, which triggered a financial crisis and more than a decade of economic malaise.

But in China's real estate, as in most sectors of this vast and complex land, implementing and enforcing prudent regulation has never been an easy task


By John Mauldin

John Mauldin, Best-Selling author and recognized financial expert, is also editor of the free Thoughts From the Frontline that goes to over 1 million readers each week. For more information on John or his FREE weekly economic letter go to: http://www.frontlinethoughts.com/learnmore

To subscribe to John Mauldin's E-Letter please click here:http://www.frontlinethoughts.com/subscribe.asp

Copyright 2008 John Mauldin. All Rights Reserved
John Mauldin is president of Millennium Wave Advisors, LLC, a registered investment advisor. All material presented herein is believed to be reliable but we cannot attest to its accuracy. Investment recommendations may change and readers are urged to check with their investment counselors before making any investment decisions. Opinions expressed in these reports may change without prior notice. John Mauldin and/or the staff at Millennium Wave Advisors, LLC may or may not have investments in any funds cited above. Mauldin can be reached at 800-829-7273.

Disclaimer PAST RESULTS ARE NOT INDICATIVE OF FUTURE RESULTS. THERE IS RISK OF LOSS AS WELL AS THE OPPORTUNITY FOR GAIN WHEN INVESTING IN MANAGED FUNDS. WHEN CONSIDERING ALTERNATIVE INVESTMENTS, INCLUDING HEDGE FUNDS, YOU SHOULD CONSIDER VARIOUS RISKS INCLUDING THE FACT THAT SOME PRODUCTS: OFTEN ENGAGE IN LEVERAGING AND OTHER SPECULATIVE INVESTMENT PRACTICES THAT MAY INCREASE THE RISK OF INVESTMENT LOSS, CAN BE ILLIQUID, ARE NOT REQUIRED TO PROVIDE PERIODIC PRICING OR VALUATION INFORMATION TO INVESTORS, MAY INVOLVE COMPLEX TAX STRUCTURES AND DELAYS IN DISTRIBUTING IMPORTANT TAX INFORMATION, ARE NOT SUBJECT TO THE SAME REGULATORY REQUIREMENTS AS MUTUAL FUNDS, OFTEN CHARGE HIGH FEES, AND IN MANY CASES THE UNDERLYING INVESTMENTS ARE NOT TRANSPARENT AND ARE KNOWN ONLY TO THE INVESTMENT MANAGER.

John Mauldin Archive

© 2005-2016 http://www.MarketOracle.co.uk - The Market Oracle is a FREE Daily Financial Markets Analysis & Forecasting online publication.


Comments

StaElena
15 Oct 09, 22:22
real estate philippines

nice article such a nice info.


Post Comment

Only logged in users are allowed to post comments. Register/ Log in

Catching a Falling Financial Knife