China faces a pressing issue with its property market as major developers grapple with debt, leaving numerous residential projects unfinished. While striving for the socialist ideal of housing for all, the People’s Republic sees 2024 as a pivotal year for implementing robust policies to tackle the housing crisis.

Despite boasting one of the world’s highest home ownership rates, exceeding 90% in urban areas and even higher in rural regions, China encounters challenges due to its highly mobile population. With approximately 300 million migrant workers residing far from their hometowns, more than 60% of them dwell in rental spaces on meager average monthly earnings. Escalating home prices also hinder property ownership for urban residents, fostering insecurities, especially among the younger populace, contributing to broader issues like declining birth rates and elevated youth unemployment. The State Council’s directive in August emphasized a new development model for the real estate market, emphasizing affordable housing as a pivotal policy thrust. The ongoing property crisis presents an opportunity for government intervention. With major private developers defaulting on substantial debts, leaving a considerable number of housing projects incomplete, estimates suggest approximately 20 million unfinished units nationwide. Local governments, traditionally reliant on land sales revenue, now find an affordable avenue to fulfill a crucial political responsibility by acquiring stalled projects at discounted rates. Efforts to inject government funds into urban renewal and public housing programs indicate Beijing’s commitment, although challenges persist as state banks face increased property exposure and the state’s growing involvement in the real estate sphere. Yet, aligning with President Xi Jinping’s vision of an ideal society remains the guiding principle amid the risks involved.