As Chinese get rich, is their wealth at risk?

Source:Global Times Published: 2016-3-26 0:58:01

China's first-tier cities saw their housing prices suddenly soar in the past few months. Shenzhen's housing prices grew 50 percent last year, a global record. Shanghai on Friday imposed even-stricter policies in an attempt to rein in the fervor.

In the face of skyrocketing prices, people who have yet to purchase an apartment are upset that their savings cannot catch up while those who already own more than one property are excited over the growth of their wealth.

Many families who own apartments in major cities now belong to the middle class. Some of them try their hands at stock market. Others are interested in foreign exchange rates.

With growing globalization, some Chinese property owners have suddenly found they are "wealthier" than most people of some developed countries in terms of the value of the properties.

But the depreciating pressure on the yuan worries us. Can we continue with our overseas travel plans, or can we still afford to send our children to study abroad?

China's middle class have become consumers of global products and services. We are used to what we have, and are used to an optimistic future outlook. We have bank deposits; we have apartments. This wealth gives us confidence.

But is our wealth safe? Are there risks that it might shrink or suffer a major setback?

Anywhere in the world, there is uncertainty around wealth. Some countries are losing out in the economic development race, causing property to lose value. Some beautiful cities in European countries are examples.

And if political turmoil occurs in a country, people's wealth will drastically lose value, and the stock market and housing market may collapse. A revolution could reshuffle people's wealth, and destroy the previous financial order. Some countries' currency system collapsed, and people's savings became nothing.

There are also economic risks, such as wealth bubbles. Chinese people are already familiar with bubbles in the stock market. Whether there are bubbles in the housing market remains a topic of debate. But in first-tier cities, we believe bubbles are taking shape.

Many cities in the world have experienced housing bubbles, though few have suffered a collapse of the real estate market. If our housing prices go up and down in a sustainable range, it can relieve the pressure of a major "quake."

Wealth does not guarantee the quality of life. But it does relate to people's flexibility and safety of life. In recent years, the world's wealth has slightly tilted toward China. The Chinese government faces a major task in keeping this trend. It is also important to narrow the wealth gap and avoid the social problem of world-class haves versus a third-world have-nots.

Posted in: Editorial

blog comments powered by Disqus