Chinas Zukunft hängt an Immobilien­preisen

Wir wissen, dass die Vermögenspreise eine erhebliche Rolle spielen, wenn es um die Stabilität des Finanzsystems und das Laufen der Realwirtschaft geht. Fallen die Preise, kommen Schuldner und Kreditgeber unter Druck, was den Abschwung beschleunigt. Banken drohen große Verluste, die Realwirtschaft leidet (weniger Bautätigkeit, weniger Beschäftigung, weniger Nachfrage, …). Das kann dann auf die Welt ausstrahlen. Besonders dann, wenn es sich um eine bedeutende Volkswirtschaft handelt. Wie zum Beispiel die chinesische. The Economist fasst das Problem zusammen:

  • “Some developers, desperate to bring in revenue, are offering discounts of as much as 30%. Officials, fearing that the price cuts might frustrate recent homebuyers and lead to protests and distortions in the property market, regard the discounts as undermining social stability and have banned them. In the central city of Yueyang the government has told developers to stop increasing prices but also to refrain from reducing them by more than 15%.” – bto: Das kann in China vielleicht funktionieren, normalerweise klappt so etwas nicht. Es ist das übliche Verhalten bei einem Margin Call.
  • “The property market is probably the single largest driver of the country’s economy. Urban Chinese have flocked to it as a haven. House prices have soared over the past 15 years, often by more than 10% a year in large cities. Yet developers have borrowed huge amounts in the process. The industry’s total debt is about 18.4trn yuan ($2.8trn, equivalent to 18% of GDP), according to Morgan Stanley, a bank. Housing costs, relative to incomes, now make large Chinese cities some of the least affordable places in the world.” – bto: Das ist problematisch, allerdings keine neue Entwicklung.
  • “If the property sector were to tip into a correction, everything from local-government and household finances to the country’s growth model would be imperilled.(…)  Selling land became one of the few things municipal officials could do to generate revenues, which would in turn finance roads and other public works. They could also set up companies that could borrow from banks and raise debt from other sources. (…) Soon the property market became the prime lever for controlling economic growth. During the global financial crisis much of China’s $586bn stimulus package came in the form of loans and shadow-banking funds for developers. (…) By 2010 land sales accounted for more than 70% of municipal incomes a year, although the rate varied between regions.” – bto: Es ist wie in Spanien, was – aus anderen Gründen – einen solchen Boom erlebt hat. Man schafft einen Scheinwohlstand, der auf einem immer weiteren Anstieg der Preise basiert. Steigen sie nicht mehr, droht der Margin Call.
  • Residential investment alone makes up 15% of GDP; the economic importance of property rises to 29% once construction and other related industries are added in, according to an estimate by Kenneth Rogoff of Harvard University and Yuanchen Yang of Tsinghua University. As a result, homebuyers and developers alike have considered the housing market too important to fail (…)  Yet demand is weakening from its high base. One gauge is growth in prices, which has slowed in recent months. Another is the secondary market, where speculative investors cash out.” – bto: Das Problem ist, dass sich ein Preisverfall schlecht stoppen lässt.
  • The easy stream of credit that kept construction sites buzzing is drying up. Access to bank and shadow-bank loans, as well as demand for on- and offshore bonds, is weakening for the industry (…) Net offshore dollar-bond issuance has turned negative for developers for the first time in at least a decade. Land sales for residential projects declined in the first half of the year, mainly because of government limits on bank exposures to developers.” – bto: Damit sind wir bei einer grundlegend negativen Dynamik.
  • Dies bedeutet auch weniger Einnahmen für die Lokalregierungen: “The development of a municipal-bond market over the past decade has helped some regions move away from land sales. But on the whole local officials have only become more addicted. Total government sales revenue has climbed since 2015 and reached about 8.3% of GDP in 2020.” – bto: was bedeutet, dass diese prozyklisch handeln (müssen).
  • “Households, meanwhile, are on some measures more exposed to property than ever. In 2019 housing represented about 60% of their total assets (financial assets accounted for just 20%). This overreliance has driven up mortgage debt to about 76% of total household liabilities. As developers lost other forms of funding over the past five years they became heavily reliant on pre-sales income, where buyers pay for their homes, sometimes in full, months or years before completion. Between 2015 and July 2021 the share of pre-sale revenue as a source of funding for developers rose from 39% to 54% (…).” – bto: Haushalte haben sich verschuldet, um Wohnungen zu bezahlen, die noch nicht gebaut sind. Das ist schon eine extreme Version eines Ponzi-Schemas.
  • “A property slowdown might knock a half of a percentage point off GDP growth this year, (…) The short-term outlook, however, might ignore a bigger secular shift (…) the market is‘very close to the end of the housing boom’, because the accumulation in debt cannot continue. Efforts to make China more equal could mean more moderate price rises in future (…) Whether China’s unfavourable demographics can continue to support a market of this size over the next decade is an open question (…).” – bto: Das bedeutet, deutlich weniger Wachstum in China und auch in der Weltwirtschaft.
  • Few options for decoupling economic growth from housing exist.” – bto: Damit haben wir ein Problem – gerade wir Deutschen, die an einem Boom in China hingen. „How a housing downturn could wreck China’s growth model”, 30. September 2021