Popping the question
China’s bubbly property markets have not burst. Yet
Jun 16th 2011 | HONG KONG | from the print edition
BUBBLES are supposed to burst with an audible pop. But in the snap and crackle of the Chinese housing market, it is hard to hear anything clearly. On June 9th the Wall Street Journal put its ear to the ground and declared that “the great property bubble of China may be popping”. It pointed out that prices had fallen by 4.9% in the year to April in nine big cities tracked by Rosealea Yao of GaveKal Dragonomics, a consultancy. Ms Yao herself thinks a “correction” in the next six months is inevitable. But she argues that it is still “a bit early to say the bubble is bursting”.
泡沫爆破时本应是有声的。中国房地产市场虽是噼里啪啦地好不喧闹，却很难听清个中详况。6月9日，华尔街日报侧耳倾听了一番后发表说“中国巨大的房产泡沫也许正在爆破”。该报指出，今年截至4月九大城市的房产价格下降了4.9%，这是一家咨询机构GaveKal Dragonomics的Rosealea Yao所掌握到的信息。Ms Yao认为在未来6个月内房产市场必将迎来一段调整期。但她也认为，现在说泡沫会爆破还为时过早。
Official figures released on June 14th added more noise. They suggested that builders started work on 19% more residential floorspace in May, compared with a year earlier, and sold 18% more. But the sales figures were flattered by comparison with May 2010, an unusually slow month following a government clampdown on speculative homebuying a few weeks before. And the starts figures may have picked up the government’s drive to build more affordable housing.