Chinese Youth Don't Want to Live in Urban Graveyards

Rows of empty buildings serve as the tombstones for China's 2008 stimulus. They're a constant reminder of housing inventory which will keep home prices suppressed for years, as well as bad debts which impair the local economy, as many locals are ensnared by the bursting of the bubble. Slowing local economies deliver the final blow, as third- and fourth-tier cities struggle to retain their youth population. In some cities, net migration is negative. Young people are leaveing for the larger and wealthier cities, such as Beijing. Even mighty Tangshan, the wealthiest city in Hebei per capita, is not immune.

Reuters: China hits property policy jam as regional market gap widens
For the 18th consecutive month, home prices in Tangshan fell in February from a year earlier, official data showed.

It is littered with unfinished buildings - Reuters counted at least 10 such housing projects there last week - and each one represents countless individual misfortunes, as developers abandon projects and run off with downpayments.

On one ghost development called "Youth Zone", a lifeless block set in withered grass, graffiti on a steel door into the site reads: "Give me back my home".

A 50-year-old investor who gave her surname as Ma said four years ago she made a downpayment of 120,000 yuan ($18,400), several years of savings, for a new apartment on another project. Soon after, it ground to a halt and the developer went missing, along with her money.

"There aren't many people around in Tangshan who haven't been caught in a property trap in recent years," she said.
A Chinese article relaying the Reuters piece digs into the story further. Tangshan is in the heart of the rustbelt recession, with a large steel industry. It's also not far from Beijing and Tianjin, two wealthier and more attractive cities for the young:

iFeng: 外媒称三四线城市楼市去库存难:年轻人都去了大城市
Although Tangshan, Hebei Province is a leading economic powerhouse, with per capita GDP ranked first in the province, the many unfinished buildings give Tangshan people misgivings about buying; and this heavy industries such as steel and coal city famous, yet failed attract too many new public demand. Since it's only a half hour to Beijing by high speed rail, Tangshan has lost a lot of young people.

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