Monday, April 14, 2014

China Property Collapse Has Begun

Just as we predicted here and here and here and here and here and here and here.

Forbes has the story:
Nothing is going right for Hangzhou at this moment. Walmart will be closing its Zhaohui store in that city on April 23 as a part of its overall plan to dump marginal locations—about 9% of the total—in China. 
Thanks to the world’s largest retailer, another large block of space in Hangzhou, the capital of Zhejiang province, will go on the market at a time when there is generally too much supply. 
The problem is especially pronounced in the city’s premium office market. Hangzhou’s Grade A office buildings at the end of 2013 had, according to Jones Lang LaSalle, an average occupancy rate of 30%. 
The real weakness, however, is Hangzhou’s residential sector. The cause is simple: massive overbuilding. Sara Hsu of the State University of New York at New Paltz writes that Hangzhou faces “burgeoning swaths of empty apartment units.” 
New homes also face price pressure. Developers in Hangzhou are now offering deep discounts, and investors and owners are noticing. And not just in that city. 
“It seems that the 30% price cut in Hangzhou really changed the way Chinese people think about real estate,” writes Anne Stevenson-Yang of J Capital Research, “and I doubt there is any turning back from here.”

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