Many experts are predicting that China's property bubble is set to burst, but billionaire developer Zhang Xin does not believe there's even a bubble at all.
The 44-year-old, Cambridge-educated Zhang is co-founder and CEO of Soho China Ltd., builder of many of Beijing's most distinctive, avant-garde buildings. She is one of the world's wealthiest self-made women, with a net worth of $2.2 billion according to the Hurun Report.
She is currently involved in real estate projects in Beijing and Shanghai worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
Her opinion is contrary to those of economists who believe that the Chinese property market is set for a crash after the government injected $585 billion of stimulus funds into the economy and government-controlled banks lent a record $1.4 trillion last year. Residential housing prices rocketed by 68% in Q1 2010 compared to the same period in 2009. Several new office buildings sprang up in Beijing, but many of them are still unoccupied. In the city's central business district, 37.5% of office space remain vacant, says property advisory firm Jones Lang LaSalle Inc.
Property proices are beginning to fall, with Barclays Capital and Standard Chartered predicting a drop of as much as 30% in the big cities for the rest of2010.
If China’s real estate industry experiences a slowdown, it can take the economy with it as it accounts for about 20% of the country’s GDP. The economy grew by 10.3% in Q2 2010, but may fall to 5% growth if the property industry crashes, say experts.
Zhang says that according to her own research, the property market is stable. Prices are cooling because of the government’s lending restrictions, but are not headed for a collapse.