Here is an excerpt of the transcript from National Public Radio (note, the radio version can be heard here):
68% in one year?! Even (the relatively modest) 40% thoughout the rest of China is insanity. This kind of rapid growth even puts the early 2000's US bubble to shame.
New figures show that property sales in China jumped 75 percent last year as record levels of bank loans boosted purchases. Property prices rose by the fastest pace in 18 months in December, adding to fears of a real estate bubble. China has been trying to rein in speculation.
One of the places with the fastest rise in prices is Shanghai. A new Shanghai apartment now costs 68 percent more than it did a year ago, according to Knight Frank, a commercial and residential property agency.
In many other Chinese cities, prices rose by 40 percent, the agency says. Now, ordinary people fear they are being priced out of the market, while the luxury sector is soaring.
"Last year, one of my customers arrived in a BMW, lugging two suitcases. Each suitcase contained the equivalent of about $70,000. He said, 'I've brought this money to buy a villa,' " recalls James Zhuo, a property agent for Century 21 who works in Lujiazui, one of Shanghai's most expensive areas.
The coal-mine millionaire from the inland province of Shaanxi was the type of customer who was buying in 2009, Zhuo says.
This article does a good job in highlighting how Chinese cities are already absorbing a massive amount of people flowing in from the Chinese countryside. That migration will surely raise demand for apartments in Chinese cities. That is an unprecedentedly large amount of people who'll be coming into the Chinese real estate market in the coming decades.
While saying that, so much of the growth highlighted in the article appears to be fueled by luxury apartment growth. Obviously, rural migrants aren't going to be adding to demand for those kinds of apartments.
To me, any investment or commodity or anything that grows 68% or 40% (or even an amount significantly less than these numbers) is shaky. It screams ponzi scheme or some other kind of predatory sucker operation.
And usually, those kinds of schemes end up doing something like this:
Photo from shanghaiexpat.com
The above photo is of a collapsed apartment building under construction in Shanghai this past summer.
I really want China to avoid anything remotely close to what is going on in the US. Sure, Chinese people alive today have seen things much, much worse than anything going on in America right now. But things here in the US are bad. While things are going well for Qian and me on a personal level, the US as a whole is very sick. I hope China can learn from our mistakes.