Financing home purchase for first time buyers in guangzhou and zhuhai a tale of two chinese cities
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Financing home purchase for first time buyers in guangzhou and zhuhai a tale of two chinese cities

Financing home purchase for first-time buyers in Guangzhou and Zhuhai: a tale of two Chinese cities

  • Peter Li

  • Faculty of Architecture, Design and Planning

  • University of Sydney

  • December 2007


Background

Background

  • Two men meet in Heaven, one from China, one from America. The Chinese man says, “Yesterday, I finally accumulated enough money to buy a house, and the American says, “Yesterday, I finally paid off the mortgage on the house I bought 20 years ago.” (Business Beijing Online, 2000).

  • Do people in an old city finance their first home differently from people in a new city?

  • Let us look at the case of Guangzhou and Zhuhai in south China.


Background1

Background

  • The financial and property markets in China are becoming internationalized.

  • As more avenues of housing finance are available, more and more people are expected to rely on mortgage loan from the newly minted financial institutions in major Chinese cities.

Mortgage broker, Zhuhai


Introduction

Introduction

  • Aims

  • 1. Based on initial findings of 500 interviews of first time home buyers in Guangzhou and Zhuhai in 2006, the study gives an idea of the number of respondents who bought their homes outright without resort to mortgage facilities of any kind.

  • 2. This paper aims to find out their means of fulfilling the homeownership dream in China.


Objectives

Objectives

  • (1) The interview findings suggest assistance from relatives and friends were sought in order to climb up the housing ladder.

  • (2) The objectives are to explore the other sources of funds for first-time homebuyers in Guangzhou and Zhuhai, such as part-time jobs and life savings, in addition to family assistance.


1 2 literature review

1.2 Literature Review

  • (Li and Yi, 2007) on housing finance in China was a good starting point.

  • Apart from that, little is known about the sources of finance for first home buyers (FHB) in China, which forms the focus of this paper.


1 2 1 review of previous studies

1.2.1 Review of Previous Studies

  • Previous studies on Chinese housing dwell mainly on housing policies (Lee 2000; Wang and Murie 1999; Wu 2001), housing provisions (Tolley 1991; Wu 1996), housing problems (Chiu, 1996a; Chiu 1996b; the World Bank 1992; Zhou and Logan 1996; Shaw 1997; Wang and Murie 2000) reform & housing preferences (Li, 2003; Wang & Li, 2006).


1 2 2 limitation of previous studies

1.2.2 Limitation of Previous Studies

  • Little has been extended to studying the avenues of housing finance particularly for FHB in the post-Deng period.

  • Hence, the focus of this paper will be on the means of acquiring homeownership for FHB in Guangzhou and Zhuhai.

  • Sale of public housing at greatly reduced prices in the 1990s told part of the story. Housing reform flats were also sold at incredibly low prices for sitting tenants.


2 the analytical framework

2. The Analytical Framework

  • Over the last two decades, housing in socialist China was characterized by the welfare nature of housing provision system. To rid the state of the housing burden, there has been a gradual change from ‘work unit’ housing to a free market for housing where people can now choose to buy or rent a house or an apartment.

  • The transition from state-owned housing to private homeownership signaled not only a change from a planned economy to a market economy (Li, 2003), but it also represented a transitional stage of housing opportunities unique to mainland China.


2 1 the demand side of affordable housing

2.1 The Demand Side of Affordable Housing

  • The ultimate goal of housing reform was commercialization of housing. Low income appeared to be a great stumbling block to increasing the effective demand for housing consumption.

  • In the wake of the Asian financial crisis in 1997, the government decided to expand housing construction and to increase the effective demand for housing by putting an end to welfare distribution of housing. In other words, work units or state-owned enterprises would no longer construct, purchase and distribute housing to staff. and workers.


2 2 the supply side of affordable housing

2.2 The Supply Side of Affordable Housing

  • After Deng Xiao ping’s inspection of southern China, the idea of a ‘socialist market economy with Chinese characteristics’ emerged and the Chinese economy took off. However, speculation resulted in bubbles in the real estate market, especially in the coastal cities. The supply of luxury apartments and villas far exceeded demand.

  •  The housing industry has become one of the main driving forces of the economy of modern China. Steady economic growth, housing reforms, the second-hand housing market, higher income and higher costs of building have contributed to rising house prices.  As house prices escalate, housing will become unaffordable to homebuyers.


2 3 data and methodology

2.3 Data and Methodology

  • The present study was conducted with a random sample of about 500 FHB in Guangzhou and Zhuhai. The data were gathered through in-depth interviews.

  • Other data-gathering methods such as a mailed questionnaire would not allow for clarification or discussion of the topic or issue from interviewees’ perspective. Similarly, online questionnaire survey as suggested by one of the interviewees in Guangzhou would not allow the researcher to explore deeply what the homebuyer felt about a given issue.


2 3 data and methodology1

2.3 Data and Methodology

  • The interviews were conducted in private without the assistance of state or local officials. Confidentiality of the subjects was assured and privacy of the interviewees respected.

  • Methodology: In-depth interviews for a random sample of first-time homebuyers in Guangzhou and Zhuhai, China.


Data and methodology

Data and Methodology

  • Academics at Zhongshan University in Guangzhou (which happened to have a campus in Zhuhai for freshmen and sophomores) provided information on the districts, such as Punyu in Guangzhou and Gongbei in Zhuhai, to conduct the in-depth interviews by random sampling.

  • After the field work in 2006, 500 in-depth interviews were made which translated into x pages of single-spaced 12 point type interview transcriptions and notes.


Gongbei check point zhuhai

Gongbei check-point, Zhuhai


Data and methodology1

Data and Methodology

  • The interviews were transcribed by hand and then typed into a computer file.

  • The quantitative data gathered from the random sample would be analyzed using SPSS, supplemented by the words of the interviewees for better understanding and interpretations of the findings.


Housing affordability in guangzhou zhuhai

Housing affordability in Guangzhou & Zhuhai

3.1Housing affordability has attracted much attention in China recently. With real incomes lagging behind increases in house prices, urban housing has become less affordable for Chinese households.

  • Housing affordability can be defined as the ratio between household income available for housing payments and the required payment (instead of the full price) for the housing unit (World Bank, 1992).


Housing affordability in guangzhou and zhuhai

Housing affordability in Guangzhou and Zhuhai

3.2 Concepts related to housing affordability

  • The House Price to Income (HPI) Ratio 

  • The HPI Ratio is a good indicator of the affordability of medium housing prices to middle-income families. For developed countries, it is from 1.8 to 5.5 whereas for developing countries, from 4 to 6. When the HPI Ratio falls between 3 and 6, house prices are generally affordable (Zhongguo fangdichan 2002).


Peter li faculty of architecture design and planning university of sydney december 2007

Year

Average selling price of commodity housing (Yuan /m2)

Selling price of a 80m2 commodity housing unit

Per capita annual income of urban households (Yuan)

Size of households

Annual household income (Yuan)

House Price Income Ratio

1991

1992

1993

1994

1995

1996

1997

1998

1999

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

756

996

1208

1194

1509

1605

1790

1854

1857

1948

2017

2092

2197

2608

2937

60480

79680

96640

95520

120720

128400

143200

148320

148560

155840

161360

167360

175760

208640

234960

1700.6

2026.6

2577.4

3496.2

4283.3

4838.9

5160.3

5425.1

5854.0

6280.0

6859.6

7702.8

8472.2

9421.6

10493.0

3.43

3.37

3.31

3.28

3.23

3.20

3.19

3.16

3.14

3.13

3.10

3.04

3.01

2.98

2.96

5833.1

6829.6

8531.2

11467.5

13835.1

15484.5

16461.4

17143.3

18381.56

19656.4

21264.76

23416.51

25501.32

28076.0

31059.0

10.4

11.7

11.3

8.3

8.7

8.3

8.7

8.7

8.1

7.9

7.6

7.2

6.9

7.43

7.56

Table 1: House Price to Income Ratio of Chinese urban households, 1991 – 2005

Source: Compiled by author with data from China Statistical Yearbook 2006


Peter li faculty of architecture design and planning university of sydney december 2007

Table 2: Comparison of the basic conditions of urban households in Guangzhou and Zhuhai in year 2000

Comparison of Basic Conditions of Urban Households in Guangzhou and Zhuhai in year 2000

Guangzhou

Zhuhai

No. of Households (HH) surveyed [by random sampling]

500

100

HH size

1563.56

342.74

No. of employed persons

909.46

167.41

Average HH size

3.13

3.43

Average no. of employed persons/HH

1.82

1.67

No. of persons supported by each employee

1.55

1.85

Per capita monthly income (Yuan)

1182.83

1277.32

Disposable income (Yuan)

1163.88

1259.17

Per capita monthly income of each employed person (Yuan)

1707.31

1913.13

Per capita monthly expenditures

1075.6

1155.63

Expenditures for consumption

945.79

974.52

Per capita living space (m2)

13.13

16.82


Comparison of fhb in guangzhou zhuhai

Comparison of FHB in Guangzhou & Zhuhai

I. Socio-economic background

  • Gender

  • Age group

  • Marital status

  • Number of children

  • Staying with parents

  • Staying with grandparents

  • Occupation

  • Part-time job 

  • 26% respondents in Zhuhai stayed with parents , Guangzhou 18% (Pilot survey, 2004).


Comparison of fhb in guangzhou zhuhai1

Comparison of FHB in Guangzhou & Zhuhai

II. Household income

  • Personal income

  • Household income

  • Income from other

    members of the family

  • 58% respondents in Guangzhou received income support from spouse for home purchase, Zhuhai 30% (Pilot survey, 2004)


Comparison of fhb in guangzhou zhuhai2

Comparison of FHB in Guangzhou & Zhuhai

III. Housing Finance 

Source of funding for

home purchase:

1. One-off payment or

by mortgage

2. Which bank?

3. Mortgage payment as a share of monthly income

4. Amount of down payment

5. Down payment as percentage of purchase price

Commodity housing, Zhuhai


Comparison of fhb in guangzhou zhuhai3

Comparison of FHB in Guangzhou & Zhuhai

 IV. Housing Finance

  • Mortgage period

  • Mortgage rate

  • Amount of mortgage as

    % of property price

    10.Penalty for late payments

  • Administrative fee for early

    re-payments

    12.Home insurance

  • Mortgage payments

    Estate agency, Zhuhai


Comparison of fhb in guangzhou zhuhai4

Comparison of FHB in Guangzhou & Zhuhai

  • Contribution from other family members on down payment

  • Contribution from other family members on mortgage payments

  • Impact of tax reduction on affordability of FHB

  • Impact of reduction in land costs on affordability of FHB

  • Impact of down payment subsidies on affordability of FHB

  • Impact of mortgage interest subsidies on affordability of FHB


Affordable housing the china approach compared with hong kong approach policy suggestions

Affordable Housing: the China approach compared with Hong Kong approach & policy suggestions

  • ‘One country Two systems’- capitalist Hong Kong and socialist market economy of Mainland China.

  • The China approach

  • Sky-rocketing house prices get in the way of realizing the dream of owning a home by most Chinese.

  • Housing is not a consumer good to most Chinese, but an investment.


Affordable housing the china approach compared with hong kong approach policy suggestions1

Affordable Housing: the China approach compared with Hong Kong approach & policy suggestions

  • Like health care and education, housing is a quasi-public good provided by the government.

  • Rapid urbanization and explosion in urban population have led to severe shortage of housing in many cities.

  • For higher returns on investment, there is oversupply of luxury flats by developers but chronic shortage of affordable housing for low- income families.


Affordable housing the china approach compared with hong kong approach policy suggestions2

Affordable Housing: the China approach compared with Hong Kong approach & policy suggestions

  • The Hong Kong approach

  • Public housing programs are mainly administered by the Hong Kong Housing Authority (since 1953), with more than half of the over 7 million population now living in public housing estates.

  • A non-profit making HK Housing Society was also established in 1952 to produce affordable housing for the lower income group. It manages some 42 estates in the territory.


Affordable housing the china approach compared with hong kong approach policy suggestions3

Affordable Housing: the China approach compared with Hong Kong approach & policy suggestions

  • In December 2003, 49.6% of the population in HK lived in public housing in more than 200 estates across the Special Admin. Region.

  • The Housing Authority also built flats under the Home Ownership Scheme (HOS) for sale to eligible families.

  • Similarly, subsidized public flats under the ‘Tenant Purchase Scheme’ were once sold to sitting tenants at very affordable prices but was not as popular as HOS due to existing low rents and maintenance responsibilities.


Affordable housing the china approach compared with hong kong approach policy suggestions4

Affordable Housing: the China approach compared with Hong Kong approach & policy suggestions

  • Sale of Home Ownership flats was suspended from Nov. 2002 to Jan. 2007, lest it was a drag on the property market.

  • It was replaced by a Home Assistance Loan scheme which provided interest-free loans to enable low-income families in Hong Kong to buy in the private market.


Affordable housing the china approach compared with hong kong approach policy suggestions5

Affordable Housing: the China approach compared with Hong Kong approach & policy suggestions

  • Policy suggestions

  • Lai (1998) argues that ’more living and floor space produced under a property market-led regime of housing governance is less likely to achieve the social objective of decent and affordable housing for the whole nation.’

  • To protect the interests of the low-income groups, the Chinese government should provide low-rent homes as a form of housing security system.


Affordable housing the china approach compared with hong kong approach policy suggestions6

Affordable Housing: the China approach compared with Hong Kong approach & policy suggestions

  • ‘The present housing reform is only liberalizing the property housing market. There is no public social housing program to provide for those in need. This omission might one day trigger off social instability in urban areas’(Lai, 1998).

  • Hence, a special body like the HK Housing Authority should be set up to implement public housing programs in Mainland China.


Good news implementation of five pronged strategy cepa

Good news…Implementation of Five-pronged Strategy: CEPA

  • Five new banking sector measures were added in CEPA Supplement IV :

    • Lowering asset requirement for Hong Kong banks to acquire shareholdings in Mainland banks from US$10 billion to US$6 billion

    • Establishing a fast track for setting up branches in central western and north eastern areas and in Guangdong Province of the Mainland

    • Encouraging Hong Kong banks to set up banks in rural areas on the Mainland

    • Providing active support for Mainland banks to set up subsidiaries in Hong Kong

    • Relaxing criteria for Hong Kong banks to qualify for CEPA

  • Source: Hong Kong Monetary Authority, 2007


Conclusions

Conclusions

  • 6.1 Implications of the Research

  • It is interesting to note that the interview data suggest more home buyers in Guangzhou (58.5%) bought their first home by one-off payment than home buyers in Zhuhai (42.8%), reflected probably by higher income earnings in Guangzhou and the new housing allowance scheme there from 1998.


Conclusions1

Conclusions

6.2 Suggestions for further Research

  • As newcomers to the capitalist market, Chinese households finance their home purchase differently from people buying in a mature capitalist market.

  • By asking the same interview questions for a control group of first-time buyers in Hong Kong, the differences in home financing between FHB in in Hong Kong and their counterparts in Guangzhou & Zhuhai can be found.


Thank you very much

Thank you very much!


References

References

  • Chiu, Rebecca L.H. (1996a) “Housing”, chapter 14 in Shanghai: Transformation and modernization under China’s open policy, Yeung, Y.M. and Sung Yun-wing, eds., The Chinese University Press, Hong Kong, 341-374.

  • Chiu, Rebecca L.H. (1996b) “Housing affordability in Shenzhen Special Economic Zone: A forerunner of China’s housing reform”, Housing Studies, Vol.11, No. 4, October, 561-580.


References1

References

  • Lai, On-kwok (1998) “Governance and the housing question in a transitional economy, the political economy of housing policy in China reconsidered”, HABITAT INTERNATIONAL,Vol. 22, No.3, pp.231-243.

  • Levy, Daborah and Henry, Mattew (2003) “A comparative analysis of US, UK and Australian published property research methodologies and methods”, Pacific Rim Property Research Journal, volume 9, number 2, June 148-162.


References2

References

  • Hong Kong Monetary Authority ‘Briefing to the Legislative Council Panel on Financial Affairs’ 8 November 2007


References3

References

  • Lee, James (2000) ‘From welfare housing to home ownership: The dilemma of China’s housing reform’, Housing Studies 15(1) pp.61-76.

  • Li, Peter (2003), “Housing reforms in China: a paradigm shift to market economy”, Pacific Rim Property Research Journal, volume 9, number 2, June 180-196.


References4

References

  • LI, Si-Ming & YI, Zheng (2007) “Financing Home Purchase in China, with Special Reference to Guangzhou”, Housing Studies vol. 22, no.3, 409-425.


References5

References

  • Shaw, Victor N. (1997) “Urban Housing reform in China”, Habitat International, Vol.21, No. 2, June, 199-212.

  • Wang, Y. P. & Li, S.M. (2006) Socio-economic differentials and stated housing preferences in Guangzhou, China, Habitat International, 30 (2006), 305-326.


References6

References

  • Wang, Y.P. and Murie, A. (2000) ‘Social and Spatial Implications of Housing Reform in China’, International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 24.2, 397-417.

  • World Bank (1992) China: Implementation Options for Urban Housing Reform, Washington, D.C.


References7

References

  • Wu, Fulong (1996) “Changes in the structure of public housing provision in urban China’, Urban Studies, Vol.33, No.9, November, 1601-1627.

  • Wu, Fulong (2001) ‘China’s recent urban development in the process of land and housing marketisation and economic globalisation, HABITAT INTERNATIONAL 25, 273-289.

  • Zhongguo fangdichan 2002/2 (China Real Estate, February 2002), p.14.


References8

References

  • Zhou, Min and John R. Logan (1996) “Market transition and the commodification of housing in urban China”, International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, Vol.20, No. 3 September, 400-421.


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