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Follow the Debate - China Real Estate June 2010


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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Asia Times Online   18/6/2010

Shanghai builds to the skies
By Daniel Allen

SHANGHAI - Anyone wanting the clearest vision of Shanghai in 2020 should take the lift to the third floor of the city's dramatic Urban Planning Exhibition Hall. A vast megalopolis in miniature decorates the floor, showing how 25 million-plus inhabitants could be living in harmony and prosperity. A Utopian dream or effective blueprint for orderly development, the next decade will judge the city's real-life experiment in urban growth.


China Daily   18/6/2010

Growing pains on road to urbanization

On the coast of Guangdong province, two hours northeast of Shenzhen, is a city with a population of about 3.5 million, 500,000 more people than Chicago, and an annual GDP growth rate of about 17 percent. Few people have heard of this city.

With wide, tree-lined streets, ramshackle factories and bustling alleys lined with stalls offering everything from fresh fruit to motorcycle repairs, Shanwei would be a major urban center in almost any other country.

Instead, in China, it is merely one of scores of cities overshadowed by sprawling metropolises like Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Guangzhou.

However, fast-growing but largely anonymous cities like Shanwei are increasingly driving the country's

Blocks of soon-to-be-completed residential apartments tower over the simple fish farms that are a feature of Shanwei, a rapidly expanding city in South China's Guangdong province


Rich and poor residents won't mix well

According to Wuhan Evening News, the city government has stipulated that, in future, real estate developers must set aside a certain number of apartments as low-priced and low-rent housing for people on low incomes - meaning that rich and poor people will live in the same areas.

At present, a popular practice for local governments is to develop low-priced housing in a certain area, usually in the suburban areas of cities with inconvenient traffic and living.

The appearance of "rich areas" and "poor areas" has been a hot topic. Some commentators on social issues argue that the separation of the rich and poor areas and the trend for low-income groups to be marginalized threaten to affect social harmony and stability.

Kaixin - For all his faults, this was what Mao was trying to move China away from. China certainly has come a long way since 1949 and 1979 in paricular. However, it should question its values on issues such as this.


China Daily   17/6/2010

Housing demand still strong in China, says Roach

NEW YORK - The property boom in China isn't a bubble because it is supported by "solid" demand for residential housing, according to Stephen Roach, chairman of Morgan Stanley Asia Ltd.

While portions of the real estate market such as high-end apartments are overheating, demand for residential homes will remain robust as rural Chinese migrate to bigger cities, Roach said.

"This is just a sliver of the property boom," Roach said, citing that each year since 2000, between 15 and 20 million people migrate to Beijing, Shanghai, and second- and third-tier cities in the mainland. That's two and a half New York Cities created annually, he said.

"This underpins a huge demand for residential property. This property has not overheated and the demand for this property is very, very solid."

Kaixin – That is exactly what Kaixin has been saying all along. A cursory glance at real estate lending in China clearly demonstrates the stark difference with the sub-prime fiasco in America, where Wall Street turned the once solid investment of real estate into tulips.

In China many people still pay cash for property. No, that is not an error, they actually pay cash. A substantial deposit of cash is required to purchase a home, 30%. You have to clearly demonstrate the capacity to service the loan.

An investment loan requires a 40% deposit. In some cities you are not allowed to purchase a third property for investment.

The Sydney Morning Herald   16/6/2010

Chinese debt binge is fuelling a dangerous property bubble

So were Chinese growth to slow, not only would mining tax revenues decline but, in a double whammy to the budget bottom line, if projects were to fail the Commonwealth would be called on to pick up its share of losses.

So how sound is the government's assumption that the China boom will continue for many years?

China Daily   16/6/2010

China's bank regulator sees growing real estate risks

China's banking regulator said it sees growing credit risks in the nation's real-estate industry and warned of increasing pressure from non-performing loans.

Risks associated with home mortgages are growing and a "chain effect" may reappear in real-estate development loans, the China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC) said in its annual report published on its website today.

The regulator has told banks to report on risk exposure by the end of June to help prevent a credit boom from leading to more bad loans. Property-price gains spurred concerns that a record 9.59 trillion yuan ($1.4 trillion) of loans extended last year to combat the effects of the global financial crisis may be causing asset bubbles.

China is "closely monitoring the growth in the volume and the quality of mortgage loans, but we don't think it has reached an alarming level," said Kelvin Lau, a Hong Kong-based economist at Standard Chartered Plc. "There are still many tools the central government can use to tackle the problem if things get out of control."

More housing construction urged

BEIJING - Officials from the land and housing management bureau in South China's Guangzhou city said on Sunday they will further increase the supply of low-rent housing to meet the demand of middle- and low-income residents.

The bureau said it is also considering how to implement a new guideline from the central government, which requires local governments to offer low-rent housing to new employees and migrant workers.

Seven central government departments jointly issued a policy guideline on Saturday, urging the construction of low-rent homes be sped up for middle- and low-income residents.

These urban residents in need of homes include fresh college graduates and even migrant workers, according to the guideline issued by the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development and six other ministries.


Shanghai among world's most expensive cities to live in

East China's metropolis of Shanghai has been listed as one of the 50 most expensive cities in the world to live in, according to the latest cost of living data from ECA International.

Shanghai dropped 18 places to 46th position in the 2010 global ranking, with Tokyo reclaiming the number-one position.

Beijing, China's capital, fell 29 spots to 55 in the ranking, followed by Guangzhou and Shenzhen.


China Daily   14/6/2010

Housing price falls likely as cooling measures bite

BEIJING - Measures to rein in China's soaring home prices are beginning to see results, and price declines are expected in later half of the year, say economists and market watchers.

The recent fall in trading volume and slower growth in prices was largely a result of the measures the government had rolled out since April, said Professor Chen Guoqiang, of China's Peking University.

Home prices in 70 large and medium-sized cities rose by 12.4 percent year-on-year in May, 0.4 percentage points lower than the rise in April, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).


The Wall Street Journal   11/6/2010

China’s Quiet Shift In Property Strategy

Signs are growing that China’s government is discreetly adjusting its medium-term strategy of tackling the country’s red-hot property sector. In recent weeks, there’s been a notable lower volume on calls for the introduction of some sort of property tax, a potentially powerful fiscal tool widely considered one of the last resorts for the government to rein in runaway housing prices.


China's Property Sales Fell in May
Construction Continues to Grow, Suggesting That Steps to Cool Housing Market Haven't Taken Effect Yet

BEIJING -- China's property sales fell in May for the first time since December 2008, new official data show, but continued growth in construction suggests that government measures to cool the housing market have not yet seriously cut into the nation's economic expansion.


Caixin Online   10/6/2010

Mortgage Loans Hit 2.2 Trillion Yuan

A report by the central bank gave a full picture of mortgage loans in 2009

(Beijing) - In 2009, a total of 2.2 trillion yuan in mortgage loans were issued to buyers for the purchase of 7.07 million homes, according to a report issued by China's central bank.

Ninety-three percent of home buyers enjoyed a discount in interest rates. About 81 percent had a discount ranging from 25 to 30 percent, said the People's Bank of China. 


The Wall Street Journal   9/6/2010

China Property's Precipice

China's property companies have had a tough few weeks. The really hard times may just be starting.

Property-market transactions have fallen off a cliff since Beijing announced several tightening measures in mid-April. Property website, in a survey of 24 major cities, reported sales were down 40% in the four weeks after those moves.

What's not clear yet is how this will affect price levels. China's data on property aren't very comprehensive, but the best measure—a survey ...


Caixin Online   9/6/2010

Developers Cut Prices, Edging Toward a Cliff

China's real estate developers were on top of the world last year when credit was easy and sales were strong, but a steep fall may be in store for some


China Daily   9/6/2010

Property sales plummet in May

Property sales in China's major cities of Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen dropped in May, with house prices declining as well, the Economic Information Daily reported Tuesday, citing data from a real estate brokerage.

Sales volume of new properties in Beijing in May fell by 50 percent from the previous month to 9,639 units, while the number of properties resold hit 14,501, a decrease of 58.5 percent, according to the real estate brokerage Century 21 and

Meanwhile, statistics from China Index Academy show that among the 30 cities it tracks, 29 met a decline from April, and house prices fell in most of the cities, with Beijing and Shanghai declining more than 10 percent.


The Wall Street Journal   China RealTime Report   8/6/2010

More Chinese Expect Housing Prices to Decline, Survey Shows

New evidence about how China’s housing market is digesting the government’s restrictive policies is continuing to roll in. Since mid-April, property transactions in major cities have dried up  as buyers and sellers try to figure out where the market is headed, and what the next steps in government policy will be.


The Wall Street Journal   7/6/2010



China's Property Market Freezes Up

Actions Taken by Economic Planners Worried About a Real-Estate Bubble May Have Gone Too Far

BEIJING—Government policy changes have thrown China's booming property market into a period of paralysis that some industry executives say will last for several months, weighing on global growth prospects already battered by the turmoil in Europe.

Kaixin – The almost complete lack of understanding by Western ‘Experts’ of the economic, social and political forces driving China is startling. They only look at issues from the perspective of their own society and assume it is the same in China. It most certainly is not!


The Wall Street Journal   4/6/2010

China's Bid to Defuse Real-Estate Froth Cools Market

BEIJING—Government policy changes have thrown China's booming property market into a period of paralysis that some industry executives say will last for several months, weighing on global growth prospects already battered by the turmoil in Europe.


China Daily   3/6/2010

Realty investment market to boom

Property service provider DTZ predicts rapid Asia-Pacific growth

BEIJING - China will surpass both the UK and Japan to be the world's second largest property investment market by 2011, a report by international real estate service provider DTZ said on Tuesday.

The report forecasts that invested stock for 2010 in the Asia-Pacific region will increase by 12 percent to $3 trillion, on the back of a continued recovery in capital values. Invested stock refers to the value of investment grade commercial real estate held by different investor groups.

Underlying the strong trends for the region is the persistent growth in China's property market, which more than offsets a decade-long weakness in Japan.




China Themes

Green China

Economic China

Yuan Revaluation & Internationalisation

China Real Estate





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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.



Available on Amazon's Kindle $4.99 - Over 400 Pages





 Chapter One


'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.





London 1910


“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.






Now Available on Amazon's Kindle $4.99 - Over 400 Pages








Graeme has been using ChinesePod since 2007

"I highly recommend ChinesePod, I haven't found any Online teaching programmes that come close."