Monday, August 16, 2010

Real Estate Music Video

I heard an interesting piece on Public Radio International's The World this evening about young people's frustrations with China's real estate market. You can listen to the story here. The story is a bit sensationalistic - the comments of people wanting blood and to go out with a bang and Andy Xie's comments - but I still appreciated it.

Here is the music video that is discussed in the radio piece (it's in Chinese):

This music video reminds me a lot of the show I reviewed a couple months ago - 蜗居 - although this video is significantly more blunt.

I've talked many times over the past couple years about China's real estate market. I've been much gloomier about it in the past than I am now. Prices are still outrageous in big cities like Beijing, Shanghai, and Shenzhen, but things appear to be calming down a bit. And in places like my old home Xi'an, prices aren't that insane (relatively speaking).

Things are still out-of-whack and will continue to be so throughout much of the country even if prices don't go higher. I think there is a lot of truth to the messages of 蜗居 and this music video. The masses cannot afford housing in many urban centers and rich people are buying multiple apartments and leaving some empty. This is very tough for young men wanting to marry (owning an apartment is a prerequisite for marriage), for couples wanting to settle down, and scores of other people.

But I'm becoming convinced that things will cool down and that a popped real estate market isn't going to mean the same thing to China as it has to the US. China's economy is still going to be strong, the country will continue to grow, and people's lives will continue to improve even if real estate is no longer seen as a hot speculative investment. I'm beginning to agree with what author Zachary Karabell told me last year, "a popped real estate bubble in China isn't going to be derailing."

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