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A Real Estate Boom with Chinese Characteristics

Listed author(s):
  • Edward Glaeser
  • Wei Huang
  • Yueran Ma
  • Andrei Shleifer

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.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 22789.

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Date of creation: Oct 2016
Publication status: published as RePEc:aea:jecper:v:31:y:2017:i:1:p:93-116 unknown
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:22789
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  1. Charles Himmelberg & Christopher Mayer & Todd Sinai, 2005. "Assessing High House Prices: Bubbles, Fundamentals and Misperceptions," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 19(4), pages 67-92, Fall.
  2. Karl E. Case & Robert J. Shiller & Anne K. Thompson, 2012. "What Have They Been Thinking? Homebuyer Behavior in Hot and Cold Markets," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 43(2 (Fall)), pages 265-315.
  3. Chang-Tai Hsieh & Enrico Moretti, 2015. "Housing Constraints and Spatial Misallocation," NBER Working Papers 21154, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Glaeser, Edward L. & Gyourko, Joseph & Saiz, Albert, 2008. "Housing supply and housing bubbles," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(2), pages 198-217, September.
  5. Hongbin Cai & J. Vernon Henderson & Qinghua Zhang, 2013. "China's land market auctions: evidence of corruption?," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 44(3), pages 488-521, 09.
  6. Wu, Jing & Gyourko, Joseph & Deng, Yongheng, 2016. "Evaluating the risk of Chinese housing markets: What we know and what we need to know," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 39(C), pages 91-114.
  7. Juan Pablo Chauvin & Edward Glaeser & Kristina Tobio, 2016. "What is Different about Urbanization in Rich and Poor Countries? Cities in Brazil, China, India and the United States," Working Papers 2016.03, International Network for Economic Research - INFER.
  8. Mali Chivakul & Waikei R Lam & Xiaoguang Liu & Wojciech Maliszewski & Alfred Schipke, 2015. "Understanding Residential Real Estate in China," IMF Working Papers 15/84, International Monetary Fund.
  9. Li, Hongbin & Zhou, Li-An, 2005. "Political turnover and economic performance: the incentive role of personnel control in China," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(9-10), pages 1743-1762, September.
  10. Yongheng Deng & Joseph Gyourko & Jing Wu, 2012. "Land and House Price Measurement in China," NBER Working Papers 18403, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Hsieh, Chang-Tai & Moretti, Enrico, 2015. "Why Do Cities Matter? Local Growth and Aggregate Growth," CEPR Discussion Papers 10604, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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