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China: Not even the 1.4 billion inhabitants can fill all their empty homes

China: Not even the 1.4 billion inhabitants can fill all their empty homes

Not even the 1.4 billion inhabitants of China would be enough to fill all the apartments gaps that exist throughout the country, a former official said on Saturday, in an unusual public criticism of the real-estate market of the country, affected by a crisis.

The Chinese real estate sector, once a pillar of the economy, has collapsed since 2021, when real estate giant China Evergrande Group defaulted on its debt obligations following a restriction on new loans.

Renowned promoters like Country Garden Holdings are still on the verge of default, which keeps the mood of buyers of households.

At the end of August, the total area of households unsold amounted to 648 million square meters (7,000 million square feet), according to the latest data from the National Statistics Office (ONE).

This would be equivalent to 7.2 million homes, according to calculations by Reutersbased on an average size of 90 square meters.

That’s not counting the numerous residential projects that have already been sold but have not yet been completed due to liquidity problems, or the multiple homes bought by speculators in the last market rally in 2016 that remain empty, which together make up the bulk of the space not used, experts estimate.

“How many empty homes are there now? Each expert gives a very different figure, and the most extreme believes that the current number of empty homes is enough for 3 billion people,” explains He Keng, 81, former deputy director of the Statistics Office.

“That estimate may be a bit exaggerated, but probably 1.4 billion people will not be able to fill them,” He declared at a forum held in the southern Chinese city of Dongguan, according to a video broadcast by the official China News Service.

His negative view of the sector in a public forum contrasts sharply with the official narrative that the Chinese economy is “resilient.”

“From time to time all kinds of comments arise that predict the collapse of the chinese economy, but what has collapsed is that rhetoric, not China’s economy,” declared a spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs at a recent press conference. (Reporting by Albee Zhang and Ryan Woo; Editing in Spanish by Ricardo Figueroa).

(With information from Reuters)

Source: Gestion

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