2012-03-15

Chinese Inflation

How bad must Chinese inflation be, if Chinese nationals are willing to over-pay for Toronto housing by half a million dollars?

The CBC reports:
Canada’s stable government and banking system and the relatively low prices draw investors, he said, pointing out that while condos in downtown Toronto can sell for $800 per square foot, in Beijing, the price is $2,000 per square foot and in Hong Kong it's double that. 
Moreover, to control prices, the Chinese government allows each family there to bank finance only two properties — one to live in and one to invest in — and buyers must pay 100 per cent cash for anything above the two-property limit, Ma said. 
Not only are prices in Canada more affordable, homes and condos are a better value proposition, since they come ready to move into, unlike in China, where buyers get a concrete shell they have to pay to finish, he said.
One is left with a series of rather fascinating question. Where do these Chinese immigrants acquire this much cash in the first place? Why are prices so incredibly high in China? Even taking into account the two-property limit imposed by the government, the average Chinese citizen is poor, not wealthy. It strikes me as being incredibly unlikely that such a law would drive prices well above the level of eight times higher than Canadian housing? Furthermore, Canada is a more globally coveted location than China.

Add to this report the fact that it is widely accepted that Canadian housing is in a bubble on the cusp of popping, and one ends up with a rather alarming picture of Chinese inflation.