China's massive property bubble creates mad scramble to take on decades of debt

Massive infusions of cash by way of the central bank, combined with runaway mass panic-buying has stampeded Chinese people into buying into the property markets in boomtowns like Shenzhen, despite the insane prices that almost guarantee that they will default on their mortgages -- because they fear that rising property prices will shut them out forever if they don't buy now, and the new rentiers who've speculated on all that property are cranking up rents so fast that renting is worse than buying.

It's an eerie echo of the runup to the subprime collapse of 2007/8, a blend of toxic debt and panic-buying fueled by the fear of literally not having a roof over your head and the belief that property markets can only ever go up because no one remembers the last time they cratered.


In May last year, after the value of his first flat, a 70 square metre unit in Guangzhou’s Panyu subdistrict, soared from 900,000 yuan (US$136,500) to 1.2 million yuan in just a few months, Mai, who has a monthly salary of 15,000 yuan, decided to raise the down payment for a new property to cash in on the booming housing market.

In June, he emptied his and his parents’ 300,000 yuan in savings and incurred debts to friends to muster the 50 per cent down payment for a 2.4 million yuan flat.

To meet the mortgage repayments of about 12,000 yuan a month on the two flats, and other debts to friends, he used the first flat as collateral for a loan about 800,000 yuan and got 200,000 yuan in cash from a short-term consumer loans supposedly for a car.

Mai got the money easily from local banks and financial institutions. Now, he needs to pay about 25,000 yuan a month for loans totalling around 3 million yuan, including around 4,000 yuan in mortgage payments for his first flat, about 7,300 yuan in mortgage payments for his second flat, nearly 9,000 yuan on the secondary mortgage for his first flat, 3,800 yuan for car loans, and the rest to service debts to family members and friends.


China’s mortgage debt bubble raises spectre of 2007 US crisis
[He Huifeng/South China Morning Post]

(via Naked Capitalism)

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