Hanming Fang, Quanlin Gu, Wei Xiong, Li-An Zhou, 27 May 2015

China has experienced a decade-long housing market boom, with the market being compared to the housing bubbles of Japan in the 1980s and the US in the 2000s. This column uses data on mortgage loans in 120 cities to investigate whether the Chinese housing market might trigger a financial crisis. Although price growth rates are comparable to those experienced by Japan prior to its bubble, substantial income growth and high mortgage down payment ratios helped support the steady participation of low-income households. A high expectation of future income growth, however, might have been a key driver of price-to-income ratios, and this may not be sustainable.

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