(South China Morning Post) Soon-to-be-published research will show roughly 22 per cent of China’s urban housing stock is unoccupied, according to Professor Gan Li, who runs the main nationwide study. That adds up to more than 50 million empty homes, he said.
“There’s no other single country with such a high vacancy rate,” said Gan, of Chengdu’s Southwestern University of Finance and Economics. “Should any crack emerge in the property market, the homes to be offloaded will hit China like a flood.”
Housing speculation has bedevilled China’s leaders for years, as some cities and provinces tightened buying restrictions only to see money flooding into other areas. Rampant price gains also mean millions of people are shut out from the market, exacerbating inequality. Xi famously said in October last year that “houses are built to be inhabited, not for speculation.”
Holiday homes and the empty dwellings of migrants seeking work elsewhere account for some of the deserted properties, but purchases for investment are a key factor keeping the vacancy rate high, according to Gan.