• By The Financial District

Millions Of China's Homeowners Occupy Rotting Apartments

For six months, home for Ms. Xu has been a room in a high-rise apartment in Guilin City that she bought three years ago, attracted by brochures touting its riverfront views and the city's clean air.

Photo Insert: Part of the population of the Pingya township in Gansu was resettled as part of resettlement efforts.

Her living conditions, however, are dire, with unpainted walls, holes where electric sockets should be and no gas or running water, Eduardo Baptista and Xiaoyu Yin reported for the Associated Press (AP).

"All the family's savings were invested in this house," Xu, 55, told Reuters from the Xiulan County Mansion complex.

Xu and about 20 other buyers living in Xiulan County Mansion share a makeshift outdoor toilet and gather during the day at a central courtyard area.

They are part of a movement of home buyers around China who have moved into what they call "rotting" apartments to pressure developers to complete them and for authorities to force cash-strapped builders to reimburse them.

All the news: Business man in suit and tie smiling and reading a newspaper near the financial district.

Shanghai E-House Real Estate Research Institute estimated in July that stalled projects accounted for 3.85% of China's housing market in the first half of 2022, and covered an area of 231 million square meters.

While some local governments have taken steps to prop up the property market by setting up bailout funds, buyers like Xu, who paid deposits in advance and are on the hook for mortgages, remain in limbo. In late June, thousands of home buyers in at least 100 cities threatened to halt mortgage payments to protest stalled construction.

Banking & finance: Business man in suit and tie working on his laptop and holding his mobile phone in the office located in the financial district.

The overall property market is highly sensitive to cases of unfinished apartments because 90% of new houses bought in China are purchased "off plans" while still under construction, said Yan Yuejin, research director at Shanghai E-House.

"If this issue is not resolved, it will affect property transactions, the government's credibility, and it could exacerbate the developers' debt problems," he said.

Market & economy: Market economist in suit and tie reading reports and analysing charts in the office located in the financial district.

China's deep property slump, along with disruptions caused by strict anti-COVID measures, are dragging on the world's second largest economy just as the ruling Communist Party gears up for its once-in-five-years Congress next month.

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