China First “Mortgage Slave Report” Says Rent-Income Ratio Over 50% in Major Cities

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A new report released by Shanghai E-House Real Estate Research Institute points to heavy strain on China’s housing market that leave many urban Chinese spending half of their incomes on rent.

The report, which has been touted as the first “mortgage slave” report released by a reputable economic research institution within China, examines the housing rent-income ratios of 50 Chinese cities in order to assess whether they’re at reasonable levels.

According to the report entitled “Research into Rent-Income Ratios in 50 Cities” (50城房组收入比研究), rental levels are around half of wages in four of China’s largest and most prominent cities.

Beijing, where average monthly rent is 2748 yuan, has the highest rent-income ratio at 58%, followed by Shenzhen, where average monthly rent is over 1500 yuan and the ratio is 54%.

Shanghai’s average monthly rent is 2319 yuan, for a rent-income ratio of 48%, while for the southern manufacturing hub of Guangzhou the figures are 2211 yuan and 38% respectively.

The report notes that out of the 50 cities surveyed a number of provincial capitals or economic hubs had average rental levels in excess of 1000 yuan a month, including Hangzhou, Xiamen, Nanjing, Sanya, Zhuhai, Fuzhou, Tianjin, Wenzhou, Dalian, Harbin, Wuhan, Zhengzhou, Haikou and Ningbo.

Many Chinese cities with far cheaper rent than Beijing or Shanghai are nonetheless host to unreasonably high rent-income ratios due to lower average incomes.

These include Chengdu (29%), Xi’an (28%), Qingdao (27%), Ji’nan (26%) as well as Changsha (25%).

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