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Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Homeowners in China are skipping their mortgage payments as the country’s economy continues to struggle

Purchasing real estate in China has been seen as a secure investment for many decades there. Now, rather of laying a foundation of riches for the nation’s middle class, real estate has become a cause of dissatisfaction and fury among people all around the country.

One of the most widespread acts of public defiance in a country where even minor protests are quelled is taking place in China, where hundreds of thousands of Chinese homeowners have banded together and are refusing to repay loans on unfinished properties. This is taking place in more than one hundred cities across the country.

The boycotts are a part of the impact from a failing Chinese economy, which has been delayed by the lockdowns of Covid, restrictions on travel, and dwindling faith in the leadership. The rate of expansion of the nation’s economy is projected to be the lowest it has been in many decades. Its manufacturers are making less sales to the rest of the globe, and its customers are making fewer purchases inside the country. On Monday, the government announced that the rate of young unemployment had hit an all-time high.

These economic losses have been made much worse by the difficulties experienced in the real estate industry, which is especially susceptible to economic downturns.

Homeowners in China’s central Hunan Province stated in a letter to local authorities in July that “life is exceedingly tough, and we can no longer pay the monthly mortgage.” Because we are in a desperate situation, we have no choice but to pursue the road of a mortgage strike and take some risks.

The mortgage protests have wreaked havoc on a real estate market that is already reeling from the aftermath of a housing bubble that has persisted for decades. It has also created unwelcome complications for President Xi Jinping, who is expected to coast to a third term as party leader later this year on a message of social stability and continued prosperity in China. This was done in response to the fact that it was brought to his attention that there has been an increase in the number of unwanted complications.

To this point, the administration has made a valiant effort to reduce the amount of attention drawn by the boycotts. The government’s internet censors began their work after an initial burst of notifications the mortgage strike went widespread on social media. However, the effects of the strikes have already started to become more widespread.

According to a list that was crowdsourced and published on GitHub, an online repository, and given the name “WeNeedHome,” the total number of residential properties in the United States. According to estimates provided by ANZ Research, the boycotts might have an effect on around $222 billion worth of house loans that are now languishing on bank balance sheets, which is equivalent to approximately 4 percent of all outstanding mortgages.

The Chinese Communist Party is experiencing an increasing number of economic challenges, and any momentum behind the mortgage strikes would add to this list of problems.

After the withdrawals at a rural bank in Henan Province, which is located in central China, were put on hold, a violent confrontation between depositors and the security forces ensued. Recent college grads are having a difficult time finding job, especially with the youth unemployment rate sitting at 20%. The persistent risk posed by Covid-19 lockdowns puts a strain on the ability of small firms, which are the primary generators of employment opportunities.

On Tuesday, the Premier of China, Li Keqiang, travelled to the southern city of Shenzhen, which is known as a powerhouse for technology, and he called for a “heightened sense of urgency” about the economic recovery. However, the real estate industry poses its own special set of obstacles.

Housing accounts for over 70 percent of household wealth, making real estate the most significant investment for the majority of Chinese people. According to some estimates, real estate is responsible for almost one-third of China’s economic activity. In the year 2020, China began to tighten down on excessive borrowing by developers in order to address worries about an overheated property market. Homeowners in this market would often purchase apartments before they were even constructed, which led to the concerns.

David Faber
I am a Business Journalist of The National Era
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