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A Real Estate Boom with Chinese Characteristics

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  • Edward Glaeser
  • Wei Huang
  • Yueran Ma
  • Andrei Shleifer

Abstract

Chinese housing prices rose by over 10 percent per year in real terms between 2003 and 2014, and are now between two and ten times higher than the construction cost of apartments. At the same time, Chinese developers built 100 billion square feet of residential real estate. This boom has been accompanied by a large increase in the number of vacant homes, held by both developers and households. This boom may turn out to be a housing bubble followed by a crash, yet that future is far from certain. The demand for real estate in China is so strong that current prices might be sustainable, especially given the sparse alternative investments for Chinese households, so long as the level of new supply is radically curtailed. Whether that happens depends on the policies of the Chinese government, which must weigh the benefits of price stability against the costs of restricting urban growth.

Suggested Citation

  • Edward Glaeser & Wei Huang & Yueran Ma & Andrei Shleifer, 2016. "A Real Estate Boom with Chinese Characteristics," NBER Working Papers 22789, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:22789
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E60 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - General
    • G10 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - General (includes Measurement and Data)
    • R21 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - Housing Demand
    • R28 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - Government Policy
    • R31 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Real Estate Markets, Spatial Production Analysis, and Firm Location - - - Housing Supply and Markets

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