China’s Housing Market Woes: 60 Million Unsold Homes Cast a Long Shadow

China’s once-booming property market is facing a harsh reality: a massive glut of unsold homes. With an estimated 60 million apartments sitting empty, the world’s second-largest economy is grappling with a situation that could have significant ripple effects.

This oversupply is dragging down prices at an alarming rate, the fastest in a decade according to analysts. This, in turn, is dampening enthusiasm among potential buyers, creating a vicious cycle that’s proving difficult to break.

The situation is particularly acute in major cities. Even in China’s tier-one metropolises, traditionally considered safe havens for property investment, selling times are ballooning. In Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, and Guangzhou, it could take up to 27 months to clear current new home inventory – a stark contrast to the healthy nine-month supply typical in developed markets.

Policymakers are scrambling for solutions. Local governments in some cities have relaxed restrictions for homebuyers, lowering down payment requirements and making mortgages more accessible. The central bank has also taken steps, injecting funds to allow local authorities to purchase unsold units.

However, the effectiveness of these measures remains uncertain. Decades of ingrained belief in real estate as a guaranteed investment are being shaken. Analysts warn that simply stimulating demand may not be enough, and that a fundamental shift in buyer confidence needs to occur.

The scale of the problem is immense. Clearing the backlog of 60 million homes could take years, even with significant government intervention. This situation not only poses a challenge for China’s economic growth but also raises questions about the long-term sustainability of its property market model.


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