The Chinese government's announcement last week that growth for 2011 slowed only slightly to a still impressive 9.2% was greeted enthusiastically by the world's stock markets. Investors also remain buoyant on China's future. They appear to be buying the official line that the gigantic property price bubble is gradually and smoothly deflating, posing little risk to an engine that's so crucial to the future of global trade.
But the math tells a different story. The housing frenzy has driven prices so high, so fast, that a crash on the scale of the real estate collapse in Japan in the 1990s is a virtual certainty. And China's already exaggerated official growth rate could take a pounding, all the way to the zone of the unthinkable, into the low single-digits.
在本文的分析中，我会大量引用我在芝加哥大学（University of Chicago）布斯商学院（Booth School of Business）的教授——也是我的良师益友——罗伯特·艾利伯的研究。艾利伯现居住在新罕布什尔州，退休后，他为朋友和客户撰写着一份非常出色的时事通讯。他早于大多数专家发现了不计后果的信贷扩张、巨额的贸易赤字和资产泡沫等问题可能造成的恶果，今天，这些问题确实已经笼罩在欧美经济的头上。
For this analysis, I'll borrow heavily from my former professor and mentor at the University of Chicago's Booth School of Business, Robert Aliber. Affectionately known to his students by his initials "RZA," Aliber is now retired to New Hampshire, but he writes a superb newsletter for his friends and clients. He spotted the reckless credit expansion, huge trade deficits and asset bubbles that now haunt both the U.S. and European economies long before most experts.
As Aliber puts it, "In China, the housing boom is a far bigger source of growth than is widely recognized, and it's totally unsustainable."
Aliber got his first clue that the craze spelled disaster from a former student living in Beijing. The young Chicago alumnus told Aliber that he'd just moved into an apartment building with several hundred units, and was the only one living there. Investors had bought all the other apartments that hadn't sold.
Later that year, Aliber visited the office of an upscale developer in Beijing, who was getting $600,000 for 1100 square foot units with bare walls. The folks doing the purchasing were earning between $20,000 and $30,000. Given those modest incomes, it was obvious that the buyers weren't purchasing an affordable new residence, but speculating in real estate, either to live there for awhile then flip the unit, or simply leave it vacant while seeking a buyer willing to hand them quick windfall.
租金 vs. 房价
Rent vs. price
What amazed Aliber was the chasm between the prices of the apartments and the rents they fetched. A typical $600,000 unit brought a landlord less than $1000 a month in rent after expenses (assuming no mortgage). It wasn't the rental yields that attracted investors, it was the huge price appreciation, averaging from 20% to 30% from 2008 until last year.
Rents -- the cost of living in the unit -- exercise a sort of gravitational pull on prices. That's because people won't pay far more to own a home than to rent a similar one, unless they think prices will keep soaring -- a view that's a sure sign of casino mentality, and never lasts. In China, prices in the frothiest markets are fifty or sixty time rents. That's the case with the example we discussed above, where the price is $600,000, and the rent is $12000, a ratio of 50-to-1. The 50 to 60 multiple is far above the level in most U.S. markets at the height of the bubble in 2006; in those heady days, a multiple of 40 was considered giant
So how far do China's prices need to fall so that the cost of owning is reasonably close to the level of rents? Aliber reckons that the rental yield on apartments will eventually go from less than 2% to 5%, or even a bit higher.
2012-02-01 17:41 编辑：kuaileyingyu