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China’s Home Vacancy Rate Is over 20 Percent

On December 21, China’s Southwestern University of Finance and Economics (SWUFE) released a “2017 China Urban Home Vacancy Analysis” report. The report sampled over 40,000 households in 364 districts or county-level cities in 29 provinces.

The report shows that the home vacancy rates in China’s urban areas were 18.4 percent, 19.5 percent, 20.6 percent and 21.4 percent in 2011, 2013, 2015 and 2017 respectively. Its current vacancy rate is only behind Spain (28.3 percent) and Italy (22.7 percent). It is higher than the U.S. and most European countries.

Gan Li, SWUFE’s director of the Center for Chinese Family Finance Research, said that, in recent years, China’s home vacancy rate has received a lot of attention and is considered to be a key factor in judging the trend of the housing market. Yan Yuejin, a researcher at a housing think tank, said that a vacancy rate of over 20 percent indicates that the speculative investment in housing is high and that housing idleness is high.

Buying a house is considered an important means of property ownership. However, the report shows that families with vacant houses face higher financial risks. In 2017, 32.2 percent of households with vacant homes had housing liabilities, compared with 17.3 percent of households with no vacant homes.

Source: Central News Agency, December 22, 2018