JIM O’NEILL: This Simple Fact Refutes All The Hype About The Chinese Real Estate Bubble

Jim O Neil

The latest letter from GSAM’s Jim O’Neill has an interesting nugget designed to refute the China bubble-istas.

One other point for all the China bubble watchers out there. Official Chinese estimates now show that just over 50 pct of the population is urbanized. Based on most people’s estimates, including work I have been involved in, it is likely to move to 70 pct before one can assume China is urbanized. This involves around another 200 million people moving into cities. Quite how there is supposed to be a nationwide house price bubble with this prospect ahead I have no idea, but many don’t seem to appreciate this. Moreover, as I pointed out at the GS macro conference where I spoke, in complete contrast to the US, Chinese house prices have reversed in the past 18 months because policymakers deliberately stopped them from rising. At some point, when they reverse policy tightening, the house price “problem” will turn out to be not as big a deal as so many fear.

Meanwhile, this is an interesting comment regarding sentiment in the US:

I spent most of this past week in New York, and to my slight surprise, there appears to be some shift in the mood about the state of life. Whether this is because it is the start of the year, asset prices have been perkier, or there is some recognition that the US economy and other parts of the world are not as bleak as the second half of 2010 is not so clear. It was certainly quite nice to hear and, in my judgment, is more reflective of what is going on.