Thursday, October 27, 2011

Has the Chinese Real-Estate Bubble Finally Burst?

I've previously discussed concerns of a Chinese real-estate bubble.

Today, I came across this report indicating a sudden drop in prices in the Chinese real estate market, as well as other indicators indicating that China's economy is slowing. (H/t Instapundit). From the article:
Stunned. That probably best describes the mood of China's vast pool of property owners. For the last few years, anyone with as much as a taxi driver's salary has been speculating in the real estate market, scooping up off-plan properties at terms that would make a Countrywide mortgage broker blush.
And why not? Chinese culture has almost universally adopted the attitude that property prices never go down. Minor fluctuations and corrections over the last several months have been written off as statistical error.  Well, reality has now uncomfortably set in.
Recent reports from the National Bureau of Statistics show that home prices have fallen up to 50% in many parts of the country in the period from July to September. But who gives a damn about government reports? The real evidence is on the ground.
Here in Shanghai, nearly 300 angry customers stormed a sales office of Longfor Properties Co Ltd after finding out that the developer had slashed prices on one of its projects by nearly 25%... practically overnight.
Another angry mob in Shanghai assembled outside the sales office of China Overseas Property Group Co after that company made similar price concessions for new buyers. 
These were obviously the poor suckers who bought in months (or years) ago at a much higher price... and they're not especially happy about a property crash.

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