Special Report: Hidden Peril Awaits China’s Banks as Property Binge Fuels Mortgage Fraud Frenzy

Engen Tham, Clare Jim, Yawen Chen
Reuters
While property prices in China continue to rise, mortgage fraud remains largely a hidden danger, much as subprime loans in the United States remained mostly out of sight ahead of the 2008 global financial crisis.

Conversation

11.30.17

The Beijing Migrants Crackdown

Jeremiah Jenne, Lucy Hornby & more
After a fire in a Beijing apartment building catering to migrant workers killed at least 19 people on November 18, the city government launched a 40-day campaign to demolish the capital’s “unsafe” buildings. Many Beijing residents view the campaign...

Mass Evictions in Freezing Beijing Winter Sparks Public Outrage but Little Official Remorse

Simon Denyer and Luna Lin
Washington Post
In his nationwide address to usher in the start of 2017, China’s President Xi Jinping said he was “seriously concerned” about people living in hardship in his country — those who struggle to find jobs, housing, health care and education for their...

Chinese Property Boom Props up Xi’s Hopes for the Economy

Tom Hancock
Financial Times
Ocean Flower Island is a vision of luxury, Chinese-style. A man-made archipelago off the coast of the tropical island of Hainan in the South China Sea, it will boast thousands of apartments, 28 museums and 58 hotels including one which is “7-star...

China Steps up Battle Against Runaway Property Prices

Xinning Liu and Gabriel Wildau
Financial Times
Chinese banking regulators have told lenders to crack down on the use of consumer loans to finance home purchases, the latest effort to cool down the overheated property market and rein in financial risk.

Conversation

06.14.17

Do Street Protests Work in China?

Mara Hvistendahl, Benjamin L. Read & more
A rare street protest broke out in China’s biggest city and commercial capital on Saturday night, June 10, when residents of Shanghai marched against new housing rules that some residents claimed have caused the value of their property to plummet...

Rare Public Protest in China's Shanghai over Property Rule Change

Andrew Galbraith, Yawen Chen
Reuters
Hundreds of demonstrators have marched through a shopping district in the Chinese city of Shanghai protesting against changes to housing regulations, in a rare show of public dissent in the financial hub.

China Steps up Battle against Property Bubble

Gabriel Wildau
Financial Times
Big cities escalate efforts to curb the soaring prices that are stoking anger

Caixin Media

03.03.17

China’s Legislators Take on Zombie Companies, Real Estate

Curbing wasteful socialist-era business practices and taming unruly real estate and lending sectors will take center stage at the annual meeting of China’s legislature, which starts next week, with some also looking for signs of a pickup in economic...

Caixin Media

12.15.16

Attempts to ‘Clean Up Beijing’ Target Low-Cost Migrant Homes

Li Yi, a young computer engineer working in Beijing, said authorities forced him out of his apartment in a village in Haidian district in November, days after his power supply was cut off even though he had paid the bills.Li (not his real name) is...

Attempts to ‘Clean Up Beijing’ Target Low-Cost Migrant Homes

Huang Shulun and Li Rongde
"They came and banged on tenants' doors every day until they agreed to move out, and they cut off their power supply for a week"...

$100 Billion Chinese-Made City Near Singapore ’Scares the Hell Out of Everybody’

Pooja Thakur Mahrotri and En Han Choong
Bloomberg
Planeloads of buyers fly in as condos rise from the sea

Seeking Lower Rent, Chinese Artists Cut Path for Themselves Outside Beijing

Emily Feng
New York Times
A small and decidedly nondescript city called Yanjiao, about an hour’s drive from Beijing, has been experiencing an influx of artists

How One City in China is Trying to Avoid a Property Boom and Bust

Christian Shepherd
Financial Times
Chongqing mayor’s star rises thanks to scrutiny of real estate market

Fake Divorce is Path to Riches Buying Hot China Real Estate

Bloomberg
Rising property prices have been inspiring desperate measures, as frenzied buyers are seeking to act before further regulatory curbs are imposed

China’s Urbanites Embrace Sacrifice to Ride Property Frenzy

Yawen Chen and Ryan Woo
Reuters
There are signs mortgages are crimping household spending, in an economy increasingly reliant on domestic consumption

China Struggles to Curb Housing Bubble

Takumi Sasaki
Nikkei Asian Review
Even as Chinese authorities desperately try to cool down an overheated housing market, their efforts are unlikely to halt the rise of speculators greased by low borrowing costs

China Cities Move to Halt Housing Market Frenzy

Christian Shepherd
Financial Times
Speculators targeted as 15-month price surge persists

In China, Homeowners Find Themselves in a Land of Doubt

Stuart Leavenworth and Kiki Zhao
New York Times
All land in China is owned by the government, which parcels it out to developers and homeowners through 20- to 70-year leases.

China Homeowners Live in Legal Limbo

James Areddy and Esther Feng
Wall Street Journal
Wenzhou case underscores uncertainty over land leases in country where government owns all the land.

Earthbound China

03.02.15

Village Acupuncture

Andrew Stokols
On a bamboo-covered mountaintop the mud-walled houses of Diaotan village are just barely visible through the thick fog that often shrouds this remote hamlet in China’s Zhejiang province. Worn but sturdy earthen walls still enclose the largest...

Sinica Podcast

01.26.15

Inside the Property Revolution

Jeremy Goldkorn & Luigi Tomba from Sinica Podcast
Luigi Tomba, expert on municipal government in China, fellow at the Australian Centre on China and the World, and author of the book The Government Next Door: Neighborhood Politics in Urban China, is this week's Sinica Podcast guest. Since 2005...

Infographics

01.09.15

Think Renting in Your City is Bad? Try Beijing

David M. Barreda from Sohu
Compared with the numbers of a few years ago, first and second tier cities in China have an oversupply of stock on the housing market. Additionally, restrictions on multiple-home purchases are easing and “expected to be eased completely,” according...

Why China May Avoid a U.S.-Style Property Crash

Esther Fung
Wall Street Journal
“China has clear signs of ‘froth,’ if not a bubble, in housing,” says Goldman Sachs. It looks reminiscent of the bubbles in Japan in the early 1990s and the U.S. from 2006 to 2010, it says—and finds China might turn out differently.

Infographics

05.15.14

China’s Fake Urbanization

from Sohu
This infographic explains why it is so hard for rural migrants to settle permanently in cities. For starters, city dwellers were the first to get rich after Reform and Opening Up, which created a large income disparity between them and people living...

Sinica Podcast

03.01.14

In Line Behind a Billion People

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
This week on Sinica, Kaiser and Jeremy are joined by Damien Ma, author of In Line Behind a Billion People, a new book for China-watchers looking at how China’s lack of affordable housing, its food and air pollution, and the country’s poor education...

Back in China, Watching My Words

Helen Gao
New York Times
Back in China after many years in the U.S., Yuxin Gao feels alienated and silenced, and many ask why she returned. 

China: A Place to Call Home

Simon Rabinovitch
Financial Times
Property prices have almost quintupled in leading Chinese cities over the past decade and they are perhaps the biggest single threat to the country’s economic and social stability.  

China Vanke Expanding To U.S. After Customer Emigration

Belinda Cao
Bloomberg
Chinese developers are starting to take advantage of demand for real estate around the world from Chinese nationals as the government imposes property curbs at home.  

Excerpts

04.05.13

Living Underground

Ana Fuentes
They are called rats, and they have become a symbol of Beijing’s red-hot real estate market. Because of soaring housing costs, there are at least a million people living underground, only able to afford a rented room in the basements of skyscrapers...

Books

03.22.13

Pressures and Distortions

Edited by Ned Kaufman
Pressures and Distortions looks at the design, building, and interpretation of cities from the point of view of their residents.The cities chronicled in depth include examples from China (Shanghai and Shenzhen), Latin America (Bogotá and Mexico City), and Indonesia (Banda Aceh). Shorter sections cover Lima and Rio de Janeiro. The authors show how residents respond creatively to environmental disaster, poverty, housing shortages, and surging urban population. They also show how governments, international relief agencies, architects, and planners can shape better urban environments. Throughout, residents present their experiences in their own words and through careful documentation of their living environments.Pressures and Distortions began in 2008 with the Research Program’s international call for proposals. A competitive process selected four teams, with researchers based in Mexico, Colombia, China, Australia, France, and the US. Each team received a research grant from Rafael Viñoly Architects and worked independently.With over 400 pages, Pressures and Distortions contains more than 500 original full-color photographs, plans, and drawings, as well as a DVD with over 100 video and audio recordings from the streets of Bogotá. —Rafael Viñoly Architects PC

Reports

11.05.12

The Spillover Effects of a Downturn in China’s Real Estate Investment

Ashvin Ahuja, Alla Myrvoda
Luo Xiaoyuan
International Monetary Fund (IMF)
Real estate investment accounts for a quarter of total fixed asset investment (FAI) in China. The real estate sector’s extensive industrial and financial linkages make it a special type of economic activity, especially where the credit creation...

Caixin Media

08.02.12

Landlords of the Rings Push Urban Rents Higher

A twenty-six-year-old woman who moved to Beijing from a distant town for work could be a poster child for urban China’s latest housing market phenomenon: skyrocketing rents.The woman, surnamed Fang, said goodbye to Liaoning province three years ago...

Media

06.18.12

Happiness with Chinese Characteristics

Yiyang Cao, Sun Yunfan & more
On April 2, 2012, the United Nations released the first World Happiness Report on the occasion of its first General Assembly on “Happiness and Wellbeing: Defining a New Economic Paradigm.” It ranked China the 112th happiest country out of 156. As an...

Reports

12.01.10

Catastrophe Insurance Policy for China

Jun Wang
World Bank
The vast majority of China's population lies to the southeast of a line running from Beijing to Sichuan. This entire region is subjected to major floods each year, while typhoons affect the southern and eastern coastal areas and major...

Books

04.01.10

One Country, Two Societies

Martin K. Whyte
This timely and important collection of original essays analyzes China’s foremost social cleavage: the rural-urban gap. It is now clear that the Chinese communist revolution, though professing dedication to an egalitarian society, in practice created a rural order akin to serfdom, in which 80 percent of the population was effectively bound to the land. China is still struggling with that legacy. The reforms of 1978 changed basic aspects of economic and social life in China’s villages and cities and altered the nature of the rural-urban relationship. But some important institutions and practices have changed only marginally or not at all, and China is still sharply divided into rural and urban castes with different rights and opportunities in life, resulting in growing social tensions. The contributors, many of whom conducted extensive fieldwork, examine the historical background of rural-urban relations; the size and trend in the income gap between rural and urban residents in recent years; aspects of inequality apart from income (access to education and medical care, the digital divide, housing quality and location); experiences of discrimination, particularly among urban migrants; and conceptual and policy debates in China regarding the status and treatment of rural residents and urban migrants.  —Harvard University Press