The Impacts of Housing Affordability on Social and Economic Sustainability in Beijing

Zhimin Wang, Jung Hoon, Benson Lim


China has undergone significant housing price growth since its 1998’s policy reformation – triggering housing affordability issues in large cities such as Beijing and Shanghai. Although studies have been done to investigate Chinese cities’ housing market policies, it appears that hitherto little is known about the effect of housing affordability on the cities’ social and economic sustainability. The aim of this paper is to investigate the relationships among housing affordability, macro-economic performance and socio-demographic trends in Beijing. Under this aim, the specific objectives are to: examine Beijing’s housing market performance, housing affordability, economic development and socio-demographic trends; and model the relationships among housing affordability, economic performance and socio-demographic trends in Beijing. Twelve years of retrospective census data from National Bureau of Statistics of China were collated and analysed. The results show that economic growth is positively influenced by housing affordability. However, it is shown that low level of housing affordability could lead to economic and social un-sustainability. This research informs urban planners and researchers about the effect of housing affordability on a nation’s urban economic and social development, offering a new plausible insight towards developing a sustainable housing market.

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