Hundreds of miles inland from the booming real estate markets of Beijing and Shanghai, an unlikely property fever is gripping this middling industrial outpost.
Rows of half-completed apartment buildings rise over former farmland, each crowned with yellow construction cranes that seem to outnumber trees in parts of this dusty city of 5 million residents.
China’s real estate rush, once confined to a handful of leading cities, has spilled into the hinterlands with a ferocity reminiscent of American expansion into suburbs.
In a country that economists say is treading dangerously close to a full-blown property bubble, Hefei represents more evidence of China’s headlong embrace of housing to power economic growth.
LA Times reported Cao Jianhai, a professor of economics at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, a government think tank, who said, "The situation in Hefei is a symbol of the craziness in China’s real estate market. Prices in second- and third-tier cities are increasing more dramatically than in the first tier. It’s very dangerous, and it puts local banks at risk."