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Fear Empty Flats in China's Property Bubble

By Andy Xie
 

How many flats in China are sitting empty? The media recently floated a story – denied by power companies – that 64.5 million urban electricity meters registered zero consumption over a recent, six-month period. That led to a theory that China has enough empty apartments to house 200 million people.

Statistical transparency is lacking in this area, so the truth about empty apartments remains under wraps. Publishing accurate data should be of the highest priority, since the size of the nation's unused apartment stock is perhaps the most important measure of the extent and seriousness of China's property market bubble. Indeed, it's a grave concern for policymaking, since unpublished data may indicate not only a price bubble but a quantity bubble burdening the market.

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