Friday, October 14, 2011

Stand-up economist Yoram Bauman on Chinese Housing

by Bill McBride on 10/14/2011 09:10:00 PM

This isn't a comedy routine - except about the hot water heater. Instead Bauman talks about the housing market in Beijing. (ht Merle Hazard)

For more discussion, see Paul Solman on PBS NewsHour: Chinese Housing Bubble: A Troubling Update from Beijing

In this video post, Bauman also includes one piece of what we like to call anecdata. Practicing his Mandarin Chinese (fun to watch) with Han Jing, a Beijing realtor, Bauman learns that she bought her own apartment for the equivalent of $80,000 five years ago. It's now worth $400,000, she says. Yet she can only rent it for the equivalent of $600 a month. ... Bauman's conclusion? Beijing prices and its glut of vacant apartment buildings seem as fishy as the mechanics of the hot water heater in his apartment. Wait til you see how it's hooked up.
What Bauman doesn't mention is that most of these properties are bought with large downpayments (little leverage).