Reporters from the New York Times filed a story from Shanghai, China this week, detailing the country’s “dizzying” housing bubble.
The average price for a home in Shanghai is up nearly one-third from a year ago, as prices in prominent cities like Beijing and Guangzhou not far behind. Because of the rising prices, Chinese consumers are quickly buying homes before the government intervenes with restrictions.
And people in Shanghai are going to drastic measures to avoid restrictions. When rumors swept through Shanghai that the government would require homeowners to pay more in taxes and down payments to buy additional properties, many couples filed for divorce so that one partner could still be treated as an independent buyer.
Here’s why this housing bubble could be different than one in past years:
Long-term household loans — mostly mortgages — have doubled as a share of total official bank lending this year. They accounted for about 40 percent of all new loans in August, contrasted with just 20 percent at the start of the year. The value of new home loans as a percentage of all housing sales has surged to a record high.
The loans — largely a byproduct of a flood of Chinese lending to keep the economy growing — are helping the affluent, the middle class and low earners who have dreamed of owning a home, while investors and speculators are piling in, too. Underground lenders — those who operate outside the formal banking system using a variety of new platforms — are also helping to feed the boom.