China Real Estate
The expansion of these gigantic cities has been fast, disruptive and unprecedented in world history. It has also been accompanied by rapid price increases. But they have occurred primarily in the first-tier cities. Markets cannot easily price what they have never witnessed before.
Graeme has been using ChinesePod since 2007
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The Wall Street Journal 31/3/2011
A Shanghai Benchmark: The $40 Million Office Floor
The Empire State Building cost around $41 million. So does a single floor in China’s tallest building.
The owner of the 101-story Shanghai World Financial Center says that in recent weeks it has set deals to sell five high-level floors in the building for as much as 273 million yuan, or $41.6 million, each.
Caixin Online 31/3/2011
The much-lauded property price targets might be missed if methods to address a large gap in local GDP and income figures aren't clarified
(Beijing) -- The Shanghai municipal government released its 2011 housing price cap on March 28, the first among large Chinese cities.
Major banks are heeding a regulator's call to offer services in villages nationwide, despite risk concerns
(Beijing) - Village bankers have swamped help-wanted websites in China with advertising in recent weeks, teasing job hunters with headlines such as "Agent to set up village bank" and "Seeking village bank sponsor at 100,000 yuan per year."
How unbridgeable local government financing gaps will make freedom of internal migration in China a distant possibility
From the highest echelons of the central government, calls for a major overhaul of the household registration system have been summoned. But local governments – buckling under the pressure of financing gaps for municipal services – have dissolved all hope that major changes will soon be underway.
China Daily 31/3/2011
Beijing maps out home prices control target
BEIJING- Beijing has been determined to stabilize or lower new home prices in 2011 with what is considered the most ambitious housing price control target among those issued by more than 40 Chinese cities.
The government will keep prices of new homes, mainly apartments with an area less than 90 square meters, steady or declining this year, according to a statement posted on its website Tuesday night.
People's Daily 31/3/2011
Hukou - longest stopgap policy in China
By Li Hong
The discriminative home-buying policy, charted by Beijing, Shanghai and other Chinese cities earlier this year, which permits permanent urban residents to buy two homes, but non-permanent migrant workers to purchase only one, again sheds light on a draconian systematic divide of Chinese people – the "Hukou", or residence registration regime -- a left-over from Chairman Mao Zedong's era.
Caixin Online 30/3/2011
On the heels of a State Council announcement urging cities to issue annual housing price growth targets, Shanghai said limits will be set behind economic growth targets
(Beijing) -- The Shanghai municipal government said on March 28 that it will limit the city's 2011 housing price growth rate to below economic growth and per-capita income growth targets, in accordance with the central government's policies to rein in the surging housing prices.
China Daily 30/3/2011
Shanghai sets target for home-price rise
SHANGHAI - The Shanghai municipal government announced on Monday evening its target for controlling the growth rate of city housing prices this year, becoming the first among first-tier cities to make that commitment. Experts said the goal is attainable.
The city intends to keep the rate of price increases in newly built homes in 2011 lower than the growth rate of the city's gross domestic product (GDP) and per capita annual income of urban and rural households. Meanwhile, the total area of completed government-subsidized properties should exceed that of commercial properties, a notice on the city's website said.
Chinese top spenders on London property
Property buyers from the Chinese mainland have become the biggest spenders in the prime central London property market, the Financial Times reported.
Global Times 29/3/2011
Govt grip on housing prices not optional
Recently, many Chinese cities released their housing regulation goals but this led to a the public outcry. Some cities linked maximum house price increases to GDP growth or to the average resident disposable income.
The goals of the local regulation seemed quite different to the public's expectations. Sharp-minded critics believe that the intent was not to control house prices, but to provide new space for the price increase.
Obviously, local governments have not cooperated well with the central government. Premier Wen Jiabao recently said to China National Radio that he had confidence that house prices could "return to reasonable levels." From the released price increase control, we can clearly see hesitation, dodging and even an evasion of responsibility from local governments.
Governments at all levels should be aware that housing prices are becoming a political issue, as sensitive as CPI. Most debates about house prices are carried out at the economic level, but Chinese society simply cannot accept a fully market-based house price.
No matter whether right or wrong, Chinese society is now urging the government to solve all its economic and livelihood issues. Many people think that this is socialism.
Since the Communist Party of China holds the power, it must weather this pressure. Some requirements about housing are unreasonable. To endure them is the price of being a powerful and big government.
CCTV House price control targets unveiled VIDEO
Ten is the magic number in preventing further property price hikes at the moment. In a bid to cool down the property market, the central government has requested municipal authorities to set the annual property price control targets by April. With the deadline just around the corner, only a small number of cities have unveiled their targets so far.
Of the six hundred cities in China, only about 30 second and third tier cities have published their annual house price control targets. Most of the targets are about 10 percent with the majority based on the annual growth projection for local GDP and per capita disposable income.
Caixin Online 24/3/2011
Smaller developers may face the toughest property market environment since the 2008 financial crisis
(Beijing) – Over half of China's property developers have released their 2010 financial results, with many posting robust growth in sales and profits. But the upcoming year looks set to be a sea of choppy waters for developers, with many concerned with the effects of the latest regulations.
China Daily 23/3/2011
Underhanded property sellers targeted
SHANGHAI - China's top economic planner told developers and real estate agents on Tuesday not to use underhanded means to sell property, as Beijing continues efforts to cool the country's real estate market.
People's Daily 21/3/2011
A construction site of affordable apartments is seen in Changsha, central China's Hunan Province, March 18, 2011. The province plans to boost the number of affordable houses to 416,200 in 2011 from 2010's 262,700, including 261,100 rebuilt houses for the residents living in shanty areas.
The Wall Street Journal 19/3/2011
China Property Prices Show Sign of Softening
SHANGHAI—China's government reported some success in its effort to pare home prices in February, with fewer large and medium-size cities seeing property prices rise compared with the previous month.
Prices of newly built residential properties in 56 of the 70 large and medium-size Chinese cities covered by a survey rose in February from the previous month, a slight improvement from January, which saw 60 of the 70 cities' prices rise.
China's leaders have said taming inflation is the country's top economic challenge this year, and have made repeated pledges to rein in rising property prices by curbing speculation and boosting ...
China Daily 18/3/2011
Property prices begin to decline
BEIJING - A growing number of Chinese cities experienced a decline in property prices or a slowdown in growth during February.
China to inspect construction for affordable housing
BEIJING - China's Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development announced on Friday that it would conduct inspections on the construction of affordable housing across the country in the third quarter of this year.
The inspections are intended to examine the development of affordable housing projects as the Chinese government vows to build 10 million units for middle and low-income earners this year.
The inspections also aim to check the quality of the projects and the implementation of the central government's affordable housing policy in local regions, a statement on the Ministry's website said.
The Wall Street Journal 17/3/2011
Chinese Property: The Most Important Sector in the World
Mark another milestone for China’s ever-rising economic profile: UBS emerging-markets economist Jonathan Anderson has declared China’s property industry “the single most important sector in the entire global economy.”
China Daily 16/3/2011
Property prices dip as measures bite
Many companies begin offering discounts as cash flow is squeezed
BEIJING - Property prices in China's key cities have dipped as recent tightening measures begin to bite and as more real estate companies start offering discounts because of a gradual squeeze on cash flow.
Statistics from the country's largest real estate website, SouFun.com, indicate that 121 projects in Beijing began offering discounts - ranging from 20,000 yuan ($3,030) to 200,000 yuan - in February.
Caixin Online 12/3/2011
Bankers, local governments and Beijing are locked in credit and cost debates over an enormous housing initiative
Subsidized housing was one of the hottest Internet chat topics during this year's sessions of the National People's Congress and Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC).
China Daily 12/3/2011
Banks told to handle mortgage loans 'properly'
BEIJING - The China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC) on Thursday ordered banks to "properly handle" problems related to housing loans and protect the rights of customers while improving risk management.
"All banks must strictly implement the country's macro control policies over the housing market and local branches should strengthen their inspection of home loans," the CBRC said in a statement on its website.
Land ministry to control housing land prices
BEIJING - The Ministry of Land and Resources (MLR) released a notice on Thursday urging local authorities to control land auction prices in urban areas.
The notice required local authorities to take steps to enforce urban housing land regulation and control and resolutely guard against land auction prices from hitting new record high.
Further, land authorities on all levels are to guarantee that there would be enough land available for the construction of the 10 million affordable homes that the country aims to build this year.
Caixin Online 11/3/2011
An official in the rural affairs office of the State Council said that the farmers in 13 cities that have annulled the rural registration have not seen any improvement
(Beijing) – While the reform of the household registration system is currently being discussed at this year's annual Lianghui meeting, an official close to the State Council's rural affairs office says that proposals to confer migrant workers the same status as urban-dwellers could be misused by local governments.
China Daily 11/3/2011
Tight regulations guarantee land supply for public
BEIJING - China has unveiled an accountability system for local leaders in a bid to guarantee the building of 10 million units of government-subsidized housing.
A list, including those officials who are in charge of the local projects, will be released to the public in early April.
The Wall Street Journal 10/3/2011
China to Ramp Up Cheap-Housing Push
BEIJING—China targeted total spending of nearly $200 billion this year for the construction of subsidized housing, as the government steps up a campaign to address widespread complaints over the lack of affordable housing while also maintaining construction activity that has driven economic growth in China and abroad.
China Daily 10/3/2011
Villagers' future blowing in the wind
BEIJING - Confiscation of farmland, insufficient compensation and a lack of employable skills have left millions of Chinese farmers living difficult lives, with many losing confidence in their future, said a national political adviser on Wednesday.
Chongqing leads the way in affordable housing
Much is said about China's rise and the implications it will have for all of us, but what has had a greater impact on me, as a resident of the Chinese capital, is "Beijing's rise". By that, I mean quite literally rising, with massive tower blocks sprouting up throughout the city where once sprawling villages with tiny, shoddy housing stood.
It is a phenomenon that has changed the lives of many residents. I live in a part of the city, which, 20 years ago, barely even figured on maps of Beijing, but is now an innovative, industrious and international community.
Experts urge reform of science grants
BEIJING - Chinese scientists are spending so much time applying for research grants that the country's attempts to achieve scientific breakthroughs and innovation have been seriously impeded, Wang Tingda, the former audit supervisor for the Chinese Academy of Sciences, has warned.
Govt to build 10 million homes
Financial foundation for subsidized housing program 'completely viable'
BEIJING - The country will spend about 1.3 trillion yuan ($197 billion) to build 10 million units of government-subsidized housing this year, a senior official said on Wednesday, amid government efforts to curb surging property prices and deliver the benefits of economic growth to more people.
China Daily 9/3/2011
Shanghai's home prices drop to 2010 levels
In the first week of March (Feb 28 to March 6), both the trading volume and prices declined in China's real estate market. The drop was a result of the implementation of the home purchasing limits, the Shanghai Securities News reported Tuesday.
China Daily 7/3/2011
Land available for 10 m new 'affordable homes'
BEIJING - China's land watchdog is guaranteeing there will be enough building sites available for the construction of the 10 million affordable homes the country has called for this year and said it will complete a detailed land-use plan before the end of March.
Xu Shaoshi, minister of land and resources, told China Daily on Saturday the land is "absolutely guaranteed".
Caixin Online 5/3/2011
Cities have responded to a central government order to cool housing sales, but genuine long-term solutions are needed
After several unsuccessful attempts to rein in runaway housing prices, the central government recently resorted to tough home purchase restrictions.
The Wall Street Journal 5/3/2011
Australia’s Ambassador, The Big China Bull From Down Under
In the debate over the long-term outlook for China’s economy, count Australian Ambassador to China Geoff Raby among the unmitigated bulls.
“I’m absolutely confident that in 20 years time China will be at least four times what it is today” in terms of gross domestic product, Mr. Raby said at Foreign Correspondents’ Club of China briefing Thursday, noting that this would require average annual growth during the period of about 7.5%. “I always was and still remain enormously optimistic about China’s potential to grow.”
China Daily 5/3/2011
Foreigners hit by rising property market
Klug is not alone. With the soaring real estate market, more foreigners in China are facing the pressures of renting.
Statistics from the Beijing Housing and Urban-Rural Development Commission show that in the first half of February, the average rental in Beijing reached 2,965 yuan a month, a rise of 13.7 percent year-on-year.
Recently the municipal government unveiled stricter policies by prohibiting people from buying homes if they lack Beijing household registration, or proof of either social security contributions or income tax payments in the capital for five consecutive years.
The move, many analysts said, will boost rentals in the Chinese capital.
Chongqing tax only on high-end housing
BEIJING - Chongqing, one of the pilot cities for a property tax, promised on Friday that the tax will not apply to people on low incomes.
China Daily 4/3/2011
Big opportunities seen in small cities
Rising middle class to drive appliance sales, says analyst
BEIJING - China's home appliance market is expected to continue to outpace that of other countries in the coming years, but both domestic companies and multinationals have to venture into the country's smaller cities and rural areas to capitalize on the huge growth opportunity, said a senior industry analyst.
"The Chinese home appliance market is already enormous, but it still has high growth potential because of rising middle-class incomes, low penetration rates in small and rural cities and government subsidies," Waldemar Jap, Hong Kong-based partner and managing director of Boston Consulting Group (BCG), told China Daily.
Police ordered not to meddle in house demolition
BEIJING - China's Ministry of Public Security on Thursday issued an order instructing police officers nationwide not to participate in activities outside their scope of responsibilities such as land expropriation and home demolitions.
The Wall Street Journal 3/3/2011
CEO of developer's China unit says limits on home purchases won't reduce prices; risk of creating pent-up demand
SHANGHAI—The chief executive of property developer CapitaLand Ltd.'s China unit said Tuesday that the country's latest measures to cool the property sector, including restrictions on home purchases and reduced land supply for private development, will most likely result in pent-up demand rather than lowering prices.
Kaixin OpEd – That is what Kaixin has been saying.
Gossip from the Forrest, ie: from our friends in China (which includes the odd property developer or two), is that prices are not dropping back much, and in some places they are rising.
The rise in real estate prices in China is a function of demand.
Plus generally prudent lending policies v the irresponsible lending policies of the Ponzi Scheme Greenspan presided over.
Put a lid on demand without addressing supply side issues, and the demand only builds up. This will be further exacerbated as China becomes richer and richer.
Beijing is mandating low cost housing and the focus on developing rural China will see some of the demand wash out into the second tier cities and so on.
However, to truly address the problem the underlying demand has to be satisfied by supply.
China Daily 1/3/2011
Latest count: China has 1.341 billion people
BEIJING -- Preliminary statistics showed China had 1.341 billion people at the end of 2010, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said Monday.
The figure is compared with 1.335 billion at the end of 2009 and 1.328 billion at the end of 2008.
Land seizures threaten to disrupt countryside calm
BEIJING - Increasing instances of farmland being confiscated and of insufficient compensation being offered to farmers are harming the legitimate rights of country residents and posing a threat to social stability in agricultural areas, according to a new survey released by a top think tank.
About 37 percent of the 1,564 villages in 17 provinces and autonomous regions that were covered by the survey have experienced land confiscation since the late 1990s.
Farmers in 60 percent of the villages where land has been confiscated reported that they were unsatisfied with the compensation they received, according to the survey released by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences late last week.
The document was part of the academy's annual report on China's rule of law and was jointly conducted in mid-2010 by Landesa, a United States-based rural development institute, Michigan State University and the Beijing-based Renmin University of China.
The survey shows that the 1,564 villages that were studied only saw about 20 land confiscation cases in 2000, but that number had soared to about 180 in 2010, suggesting the problem was becoming more widespread.
Graeme has been using ChinesePod since 2007
"I highly recommend ChinesePod, I haven't found any Online teaching programmes that come close."
Set in Zanzibar in 1910, it is the story of two people from different worlds falling in love. Susan immerses herself in Zanzibar. Asim falls in love with this woman from the nation that killed his wife. Susan is a spy. Asim is the chief advisor to the Sultan of Zanzibar. Germany and France are holding secret negotiations to form a Pan European alliance, which would isolate Britain and destroy her power. Susan and Asim are caught up in all this and their love is finally dashed on the cold, hard reality of international high politics.
'A maharaja’s ruby cast on a Persian carpet by the blackest of hands'
Their souls danced, honouring his promise.
The ancient dhow stirred in the soft morning breeze. Like a sleepy lion, it began to move through the water, snuffling about the other boats on the harbour; some scurrying, some at anchor, some darting before a brief gust of wind. The lateen sails a bustling panorama of blood-red and sun-bleached white.
Aft, the woman's eyes searched the skyline, drinking in the architecture of Stone Town, the heart of Zanzibar; its jagged, cluttered silhouette so familiar, so much a part of her soul.
Abruptly, her eyes ceased their restless searching, jagged by an invisible hook, transfixed by the grand buildings on the northern shore, Beit-al-Ajaib, the House of Wonders, Palace to the great Sultan of Zanzibar. The distinctive architecture captured in the tropical light: coconut white outlined by contrasting shadow plays of pepper black.
A smile, ever so slight, started to play on the edge of her mouth then disappeared. A memory that should have been fond instantly turned to sharp unbearable pain. Her eyes hardened and moved on.
Without warning the captain threw the rudder over. Stumbling, the woman barked her shin on a wooden box, a rough-hewn coffin. She recoiled, knocking over an untidy stack of cane baskets. Imprisoned in the baskets, rusty cockerels, their scruffy heads straining through the latticework, snapped at her, cried out to her; their raucous din overwhelming her, drowning her.
Dimly, through the fog of noise, the strident swearing of the sailors in Kiswahili seeped into her conscious. Understanding, she smiled mirthlessly.
The coffin had been carelessly stowed, a chore, rather than a labour of respect or love.
“Hello, who are you? I am Oliver, is Edward at home?”
The words were spoken by a tall, impeccably dressed young man as he rushed into Edward’s flat shaking off surplus water and calling for whisky while shoving his umbrella into a stand. It was a blustery, grey, bitterly cold February afternoon in the heart of London. He brushed a curl of soft auburn hair from his forehead and smiled charmingly.
Susan laughed, her hazel eyes dancing with the exhilaration of the new. “Yes, he is having a bath. I think he is trying to get warm. I’m Susan, Susan Carey, his sister.”
“Ahhh yes, from Australia. How do you do?” said Sir Oliver, smiling broadly and offering his hand. He noticed the laughter in her eyes, and the depth, particularly the depth, intensified by jade flecks that made them striking and alluring. “So, you have arrived, good trip I trust.”
“I am very well thank you, and yes, it was a good trip,” replied Susan.
He laughed and glanced at the sitting room, “whisky?”
“Oh, I’m sorry, please come in…….. that was silly of me, after all, it is your flat.”
Oliver smiled and gestured for Susan to lead the way. He followed her into the room, and after helping himself to a generous portion of whisky, walked over to the fire.
Shortly after, Edward, wrapped in a huge ruby-coloured dressing gown and wiping soap from his ear strode into the room. He was of similar age to Oliver, late twenties, well built, if slightly podgy, with dark auburn hair and a full moustache. Susan looked up and smiled to herself, she could see now where he had picked up some of his new mannerisms.
“Thought I could hear voices. I see you two have met, no need for introductions then.”
As he was speaking, Edward walked to the side table and grabbed a whisky decanter by the neck. He glanced at Oliver who nodded. A long finger snaked into one of the tumblers followed by the distinctive clink of crystal. He swept the decanter off the table and carried it to where Oliver was sitting. After pouring the whisky, he sank into a lounge chair and sipped from his glass, enjoying the warm glow as it spread through his body.
Suddenly he sat up exclaiming, “Sorry sis, would you like something to drink?”
“Kind of you to remember, but no thank you, and yes, Oliver has already inquired.”
Edward nodded and sank back into his lounge chair.
They chatted, tentatively at first, getting to know one another. Edward had not seen Susan for two years and was unsure how his sister would take his new relationship. Oliver was intrigued by Susan. An attractive, self-assured young lady of high intelligence with a degree was a rare find. And, as fate would have it, she was also a trained and experienced teacher. He suggested a picnic at Oxford, which was met with ready acquiescence. Arrangements were made for the following Sunday.
“I’ll see if the Rolls is available,” mused Oliver. “Must ring father, haven’t spoken to him in ages.”
Oliver, Sir Oliver Marchmaine, was an unaffected young man of intense intelligence who saw life as a great adventure to be lived to the full. He was also unyieldingly loyal to his country, England, which is why he had joined Military Intelligence on leaving Oxford.
It was 1910 and Europe was stirring. It was a time full of interest, intrigue and danger. The European chessboard was becoming increasingly complex, the moves more subtle. A time when an unexpected move or feint could have profound consequences.
Regaining her balance, the woman’s eyes were drawn, hesitantly at first, resisting back to Beit-al-Ajaib. She wondered if it was still the same. Still the same centre of power and intrigue that had been so much a part of her life all those years before; that had defined her life.
She remembered those first few moments, remembered standing in the foyer of the palace, .………… remembered the breathtakingly beautiful Persian tapestry ........
The sea breeze stirred her clothes. She smiled a little sadly, and in her mind the tapestry gently swayed. Two small apparitions ran giggling up the stairs: two small exquisitely rich burkas disappearing along the first floor landing. Childish squeals of mischief and joy left in the air.......
“Move to seaward, you accused of Allah! Move!”
Her thoughts were clawed back to the dhow, the captain crashing the tiller over to avoid another boat on the crowded harbour. The woman instinctively ducked her head to avoid the heavy boom as it swung over her, the rusty cockerels squawked their raucous indignation, their heads straining through the latticework, relentless.
The collision avoided, the dhow continued on its way. The cacophony dying down to the occasional command by the captain or the cry of a seagull.
The woman's thoughts returned to Beit-al-Ajaib
…………. laughing and giggling, girls of seven or eight. A door on the first floor slammed and all sounds of them disappeared. Silence. The woman smiled. She could see herself, a young woman, dressed plainly, unselfconsciously, her sexuality tantalisingly just out of reach, hidden beneath the thin veil of her clothing. She remembered standing alone in the foyer, looking around, perplexed. Asim came through a door to the left of the tapestry.
The woman started and looked around. Then, realising, was cold again. Alone again. Alone, rocking to and fro to the rythm of the sea. Alone, beside a rough-hewn coffin.
Graeme has been using ChinesePod since 2007
"I highly recommend ChinesePod, I haven't found any Online teaching programmes that come close."