So many terrifying rock-vs-hard-place counterfactuals in here.
- Even in a so-called second-tier city like Jinan, a 100-sq.-meter apartment would cost him about 2 million yuan ($297,000). Yan, who makes roughly 6,000 yuan a month working for a local environmental nonprofit organization, is only able to afford half of that, despite years of saving and generous support from his parents.
Yan makes $900 a month and a 1100sqft apartment is $300k. If Yan were an American, following the rules and putting down 20% and 25% of his monthly on rent or mortgage, Yan could basically afford a 30-year mortgage on a Volvo station wagon. The down payment alone would take him four and a half years to save up, assuming he could drop a quarter of his paycheck on it.
- According to his estimates, about 80% of Chinese people's wealth is in the form of real estate, totaling over $65 trillion in value -- almost twice the size of all G-7 economies combined. A significant slowdown could, therefore, have a substantial impact on citizens' financial health.
Some large and terrifying portion of China's wealth is dependent on Yan figuring out a way to afford an apartment five times as expensive as is reasonable. And if Yan can't do it, they're counting on you, by the way - especially if you live on the West Coast of North America.
The hits just keep coming:
- Prof. Gan warns of potential financial risk from the rising number of vacant houses. Of the 22.9 trillion yuan ($3.4 trillion) of outstanding mortgage debt held by Chinese people as of the end of 2017, 47.1% of that is tied up in residences that now stand empty.
That's half of all mortgage debt that is never, ever going to make the money it's supposed to.