[photopress:realestate_The_Economist.png,full,alignright]The Economist is one of the magazines journalists depend on. It is superbly edited and rarely gets things wrong.
Now it has said that home ownership among China’s urban households is 80%.
Sam Crispin, writing in CBiz.cn expresses extreme surprise. As you would. In world terms that is a staggeringly high figure.
According to the London Times only 70% of UK households own their own home.
Some digging into The Economist report suggests that it comes from an August 2002 (note the date) statement from the Ministry of Construction, as reported by Xinhua, which actually states that 4 out of 5 urbanites (not households) own their own home and 94% own some kind of accommodation.
The Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University, dated July 2005, points to a possible cause. This paper shows the difference between fully transferable property rights that come with commodity housing (shangpin fang) and usage rights (shiyong quan). For the latter the rights are inheritable but there are restrictions on other forms of transfer. Ownership of a sort but not probably in the way that The Economist presented it.
So with that 80% quoted in The Economist, even though it was a very dated figure, you could make a guess half is usage rights and half is commodity housing with fully transferable title.
Sam Crispin writes, correctly:
The true significance of this is that we lack quality statistics with which to accurately measure home ownership, price increases etc and that policies are being drawn up without a clear picture of the real situation.
Read the full article by clicking on Source below.