China's Empty Homes Dilemma: More Houses than Occupants, Says Former Official
Why China's Massive Population Can't Fill Its Empty Apartments
A former official in China recently pointed out something surprising - even if every single person in China, all 1.4 billion of them, had a home, there would still be empty apartments. This is a big deal because China's housing market, which used to be super important for its economy, has been going through a tough time since 2021.
One of the biggest real estate companies in China, China Evergrande Group, ran into trouble and couldn't pay back its debts. This made other big companies, like Country Garden Holdings, also struggle. Because of all this, people aren't so keen on buying homes right now.
Watch The Video of China's Ghost Cities:
As of August, there were a whopping 648 million square meters (that's like 7 billion square feet!) of homes sitting empty, according to the National Bureau of Statistics. To give you an idea, that's like having 7.2 million average-sized homes just waiting for someone to move in.
But wait, there's more. This number doesn't even include the homes that have been sold but are still not finished because the builders don't have enough money. It also doesn't count the extra homes that were bought by investors in 2016 and are still vacant. These two groups make up most of the empty space, experts say.
He Keng, who used to help gather data about this stuff, said, "It's really hard to say how many empty homes there are. Different experts have different guesses. Some even think there are enough empty homes for 3 billion people!" Even though that's probably too many, it shows that even China's huge population wouldn't be able to fill up all the empty homes.
This honest talk about such an important part of China's economy at a public meeting is pretty unusual. The government usually says that China's economy is doing great, even when some people think it might not be. A spokesperson from the foreign ministry recently said, "People sometimes make predictions that China's economy will fall apart, but it's just talk. China's economy is strong and not going anywhere."
Source: China News Service, Forum in Dongguan City, Southern China.