Housing

A man rides a bicycle past a Yango Group real estate project under construction in Yanan New Zone, Shaanxi province, China, 4 January 2019. (Yawen Chen/Reuters)

China's local governments going bankrupt?

Local governments in China are facing a problem of not having enough in their coffers, leading to various measures such as a hiring freeze in Hegang city. Corruption also remains a problem, with some officials using their authority and influence to line their own pockets. Zaobao correspondent Yang Danxu notes that there is a danger of such debt issues becoming a risk to social stability.
A person looks towards cranes in front of the skyline of the central business district (CBD) in Beijing, China, 18 October 2021. (Thomas Peter/Reuters)

Can China pull itself out of the economic doldrums?

China was the only major economy to expand in 2020 as the Covid-19 pandemic swept across the world. But its regulatory whirlwind over the past year has created uncertainties and headwinds for the economy. Caixin tells us the five key things to watch for as the world’s second-largest economy ploughs through the final quarter of the year.
This file photo taken on 17 September 2021 shows a man walking past a housing complex by Chinese property developer Evergrande in Guangzhou, China's southern Guangdong province. (Noel Celis/AFP)

Can China achieve a soft landing for its housing market?

Qin Yu notes that the property market will cool somewhat, if people’s housing price expectations go down. But this might at the same time bring down property prices too much. How can the right balance be struck?
This handout photo released by the Kaohsiung Fire Department on 14 October 2021 shows firefighters battling an overnight blaze that tore through the Cheng Chung Cheng Building in the southern Taiwanese city of Kaohsiung, killing at least 46 people and injuring dozens of others. (Handout/Kaohsiung Fire Department/AFP)

Fire hazards plague Taiwan's ageing buildings and their residents, but is anyone fixing the problem?

On 14 October, an old building in Kaohsiung went up in flames, killing 46 people. That is not the only ageing building in Taiwan; hundreds of buildings are growing old along with the residents that live in them. Zaobao correspondent Woon Wei Jong visits a few of these older developments and speaks to the residents for a better idea of their living conditions and the fire hazards they face on a daily basis.
People at Ma Tso Lung village take photos of the sunset against the New Territories in northern Hong Kong, 20 October 2021. (CNS)

Hong Kong’s Northern Metropolis: Castle in the air or realistic goal?

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam recently gave her 2021 policy address, in which plans were laid out for a 20-year project to develop a Northern Metropolis. Commentator David Ng affirms the need to increase land and housing supply to resolve Hong Kong’s residential challenges such as subdivided units, while pointing out that the long timeline could mean challenges in following through on the project.
Residential buildings are seen in Beijing, China, on 17 September 2021. (Greg Baker/AFP)

How China’s housing market landed in the deep freeze

Policymakers have imposed a series of measures to limit rampant borrowing by developers and tighten standards for mortgage lending since Chinese President Xi Jinping declared in 2017 that “houses are for living in, not for speculation”. Following this, developers are experiencing a sharp drop in home sales, which adds to their financial burdens. In spite of this, industry experts opine that Beijing’s determination to reduce dependence on real estate investment will not change easily.
Chinese national flags on display in a public housing block in Wong Tai Sin district to mark National Day in Hong Kong, China, on 1 October 2021. (Paul Yeung/Bloomberg)

Mainland and HK officials step up visits to the grassroots: Hope for lower-income Hong Kongers?

The Liaison Office of the Central People's Government in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region or LOCPG has been busy engaging with Hong Kongers at the grassroots level, in order to connect with the ground. Officials of the Hong Kong government and the pro-Beijing camp have followed suit. Zaobao journalist Tai Hing Shing speaks to ordinary Hong Kongers and academics to get a sense of whether this strategy will help to further the Chinese Communist Party’s people-centred governance ideal in Hong Kong society.
Carrie Lam, Hong Kong's chief executive, arrives for a news conference in Hong Kong, China, on 6 October 2021. In the last annual policy address of her current term, Lam announced plans to transform the northern part of the New Territories. (Paul Yeung/Bloomberg)

Did Carrie Lam impress with her 2021 final policy address and 'Northern Metropolis' housing plan?

Zaobao journalist Tai Hing Shing examines the last policy address by Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam in her current term, which announced plans to resolve the housing crunch in Hong Kong. But is it too little, too late for Lam in her efforts to win re-election?
This file photo taken on 15 September 2021 shows a worker walking in front of the Evergrande headquarters in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, China. (Noel Celis/AFP)

High debts, big money: Can Evergrande continue its high life by living on the edge?

China's Evergrande Group has agreed to sell a 20% stake in Shengjing Bank Co. to the local Shenyang government for 10 billion RMB (US$1.55 billion) to settle debts with the lender, according to a Bloomberg report. But the sale will do little to help Evergrande pay its massive debts to bond holders and homebuyers, many of whom camped outside its Shenzhen headquarters since news of its possible bankruptcy was reported more than two months ago. In fact, Evergrande missed paying its bond interest due on 29 September, in its second unpaid offshore debt payment in a week. Caixin journalists investigate the "high risks, high rewards" modus operandi of the Evergrande Group and its executives who lived on high debts, high financing costs but also big profits. Can Evergrande's high life continue or will they become "China's Lehman Brothers"?