Real estate boom in cities

BENGBU, China – Luxury lakeside homes and high-rise condominiums are coming up fast in China’s sleepy inland town of Bengbu, a clear sign that a home-buying frenzy sweeping across the country’s major metropolises and provincial capitals has reached even its smaller cities.

The increase in demand is welcome news for smaller cities that have a massive overhang of unsold houses left from the last real estate downturn three years ago.

However, the surge in construction threatens to outpace or match the increased demand for housing, leaving housing inventories untouched.

That will be a worry for China’s policymakers, who want to keep the real estate market stable ahead of a once-every-five-years Communist Party congress in the autumn that will see a reshuffle of senior leaders.

The property market in Bengbu, once a fishing village on the banks of the Huai River and Lake Longzi, has been among the top three fastest-growing in China’s 70 main cities in recent months although the local economy is soft — the region’s main glass-making industry has been hit by the general growth slowdown.

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