On June 10, China’s Southwestern University of Finance and Economics (西南财经大学) released a report showing the results of a study on the country’s housing market. The report showed that, in 2013, the rate for home ownership in China was as high as 90.8 percent. The rate was 95.8 percent for rural homes and 87.0 percent for urban homes. The rate measures the percentage of homes that were owner occupied. The statistics showed the rate was 65 percent in the U.S., 60 percent in Japan, and 63 percent for the entire world. The urban ownership rate for multiple homes, which gauges the percentage of urban families that own multiple homes, was 18.6 percent in 2013, an increase of 2.7 percent over the figure for 2011. In March of 2014, the urban multi-home ownership rate jumped to 21.0 percent.
In 2013, China’s urban housing vacancy rate, the proportion of the homeowner inventory that was vacant for sale, was 18.6 percent, 1.8 percent higher than the rate in 2011. The report estimated that there were 48.98 million vacant homes in urban China. Outside of China, the housing vacancy rate was between 1 percent and 3 percent in the U.S., below 5 percent in Hong Kong, around 9.5 percent in the EU countries, 13.1 percent in Japan, and 17.6 percent in Taiwan.
Interestingly, the vacancy rate for low-end housing, that is, government subsidized low price housing sold to low-income earners, was as high as 23.3 percent. The study also showed that the proportion of ownership of low-end housing is the highest among the top 25 percent of households in terms of income level, while 27.5 percent of the low-end housing owned by the top 25 percent of households is empty. The report concluded that "a serious waste of resources exists and there is a ‘mismatch’ in the allocation of low-end housing."
Source: Beijing Youth Daily, June 11, 2014