China has weathered the global financial turmoil in much better shape than most other countries, including the United States. However, there been concerns that banks loosened their lending standards too much as a result of a huge stimulus, among other factors. This led to excessive lending to individual home purchasers and rapidly rising housing prices that, in turn, may eventually lead to an increase in nonperforming loans at financial institutions should those prices collapse. The result, if corrective actions prove insufficient, could be a banking crisis that might require a government bailout.
The crucial issue, therefore, is whether there is a housing bubble in major cities throughout the country that is about to burst. China has certainly experienced extraordinary growth in the housing market during the past decade, which has been accompanied by substantial increases in residential property prices.
This report examines whether the decade of rapid growth in home prices in fact represents a housing bubble, and if so whether the authorities are able to achieve a "soft landing" in the housing market.