Shanghai real estate market has experienced a robust growth since 1990s except a few downturns including the 1999 and 2005 dips. Shanghai is generally considered to be a better performer in keeping its pricing during downtime, but Shanghai property sales had also experienced a significant decline during the second half of 2008. Shanghai, however, begins to show signs of improvement and seems to lead this sector to stabilization. Although with declining prices from the peak, it has shown an impressive rebound in new and exiting home sales. The government’s 4 trillion yuan, or $585 billion, stimulus plan will help mobilize private-sector investment in sectors such as real estate, although it relies mostly on government-led infrastructure investment. Given the high housing inventory level in most cities, a rebound in trading volume by no means means an instant price catch up. Time will be needed for adjustment for the real estate industry. Investors and home buyers are never too far away. After a period of waiting and observing, some start to see opportunities and dive in this market. Real estate is key to revival of the world’s third largest economy. Shanghai, China’s largest city and the eighth largest city in the world with several thousands of skyscrapers and its distinguished architecture, is in particular, the source of consumer confidence. A decline in Shanghai represents major instability in the national and global markets, and tends to create negative ripple effects.
Regardless of the current economic slowdown, the Shanghai banking regulator reinforced the second home requirement rule, reiterating that buyers must put at least a 40% down payment for purchasing a second home. This shows government’s disciplined approach in stimulating the real estate market. In general, the government makes lands available for sale primarily through auctions. The companies that purchase the lands will be responsible for building properties and selling the properties to the public. The residents will hold seventy year long property ownership.
Under the current policies, foreigners are entitled to one property if they have worked and lived in Shanghai for at least a year. Besides the residency requirement, they must purchase property only for their own use and can not lease it to others. Shanghai property transaction centers can make up own rules on trading on the basis of these policies, according to Shanghai Municipal Housing, Land and Resource Administration Bureau, and rules and implementation time could vary by district. Restrictions that were imposed on foreign investors from investing in the first tier cities like Shanghai have not been released, but real estate opportunities in the second and third tier cities or Shanghai nearby cities such as Hangzhou, Suzhou, Wuxi, are either open, or not as restricted. One thing to note is that overseas institutions and individuals that have set up a company in China may purchase property for purposes other than their own use. Regardless of economic and market conditions, Shanghai, with its unique historical background, rich cultures and vibrant growth, continues to attract people from all over the country and all over the world.