The preliminary results of a nationwide study based on the China Household Finance Survey, conducted by Chengdu’s Southwestern University of Finance and Economics in 2017, have been released. They show that approximately 22 percent of homes in China
are unoccupied, adding up to more than 50 million empty apartments and houses across the country.
According to prof. Gan Li, who runs the study, China has the highest home vacancy rate in the world. The figures exclude homes yet to be sold by developers and only represent the empty dwellings after sales. Holiday homes and the homes of migrant workers account for some of the deserted properties, but the key reason behind China’s high home vacancy rate is housing speculation.
Apartment and house purchases for investment have been dragging on supply and putting upward pressure on real estate prices in China
for years, according to Bloomberg
. However, should any cracks appear in the property market, the rushed sales of unoccupied homes would likely hit China severely causing multiple economic and social problems. As of now, the prices are kept relatively steady thanks to constant government purchases of surplus inventory, yet sceptics believe that China’s housing market is approaching a crisis.