In China, where the housing market is in crisis, buying property is becoming a way of life.
At least, that’s the argument made by some real estate experts, who believe that the rapid expansion of the market will make it a viable investment opportunity for foreigners.
“The biggest challenge right now is China’s huge housing bubble,” said Mr Yang, who has been researching and writing about the housing bubble in China for more than a decade.
“People are getting into the property market because they have to.
People have to go to work and pay taxes, so they want to live close to the work area.
They’re not going to live in a neighbourhood where there is a shortage of houses.”
But if the bubble is to burst, Mr Yang warns, investors must be aware of the risks of buying into the market.
He says that, while the real estate bubble has been building in China, investors have been losing money, often in the form of a property crash.
The housing bubble is a very important factor in the overall Chinese economy, which is now suffering a contraction in exports, which means the Chinese government has to import more than $US1 trillion ($1.3 trillion) in goods each year, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has said.
China’s housing market A report by the International Finance Corporation (IFC), which has been tracking the housing and property market in China since 2002, found that the bubble has caused the Chinese economy to shrink by 7.4 per cent since it started.
“It’s a bubble,” Mr Yang told Al Jazeera.
While many of the bubbles that developed in the 1990s and early 2000s have been burst, such as in Hong Kong, the bubble in Beijing is still alive.
It is fuelled by a complex mix of factors, including a high debt burden, a lack of transparency and a slow pace of reform.
In China, Mr Chen is an expert on real estate.
Unlike other Chinese cities, Beijing is not a sprawling metropolis, but a city of suburbs.
Beijing’s population is more than 1.5 million people, and the capital is divided into four main zones: the eastern, western, southern and central parts.
The eastern area has been home to the biggest number of billionaires in the country, including the likes of Zhang Zhihong, a former chief executive of Alibaba, and Li Keqiang, who was once China’s richest man.
The western area is home to China’s biggest financial centre, Shanghai, and is the biggest exporter of goods to the world.
China’s property bubble has made real estate expensive Chinese residents are finding it hard to get the money they need to buy property.
Chinese property prices have been rising at an average annual rate of almost 5 per cent for the past three years, according to the World Bank.
The Shanghai stock market has been the biggest beneficiary of this, as has the Chinese real estate market.
Chinese property values increased by more than 30 per cent in the past year alone.
This is the latest sign of the bubble’s impact in China.
Last year, China’s government began easing restrictions on foreign investment in the housing sector.
But that did not stop the market from bursting.
After more than three years of stagnation, the housing boom has ended, according the Beijing-based real estate consultancy CBRE.
At the end of April, the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index hit a record high of 6,095,895.
According to the International Real Estate Association (IERA), the market was worth more than US$1.5 trillion ($US1.8 trillion) when it was bursting in 2010, and has since fallen to around US$800 billion.
Mr Yang believes the Chinese housing bubble will continue to pop, especially if there is no immediate government intervention to stop it.
If the Chinese authorities want to stop the housing property bubble, they will need to step in and step out of the housing business,” he said.
What is the Chinese market?
The Chinese real property bubble began to burst in 2010.
Chinese property is extremely expensive.
Its value has been on a tear since the 1990’s, and this has led to some of the country’s wealthiest people and billionaires living in China instead of in the US or Europe.
But the real-estate bubble has taken hold in China in the last three years.
As of March, China had 6,788,000 rental units worth $US14.5 billion ($US20.4 billion) that had been purchased for between $US50,000 and $US200,000 ($US270,000 to $300,000).
That is more expensive than the US market, which has around 2,300,600 rental units valued at around $US400,000.
More: What is China real estate?
If you want to invest in the Chinese property market, the key is finding a property that can