(Yicai Global) Feb. 15 -- China’s urban population expanded the slowest in 42 years last year as migrant workers went home during the Covid-19 pandemic, intensifying pressures in the real estate industry.
The country had 6.5 million new residents in urban areas last year, marking the first time that the figure fell short of 10 million in 28 years, as urbanization rate rose to the thresholder and nationwide population growth tamed, according to the latest statistics from the National Bureau of Statistics.
The decades of 2010s is the fastest growing period for China’s urban population in the last four decades, as more than 20 million fresh residents was added almost each year, but since 2020, the new resident’s addition quickly slows down, as the 2022 addition was less than one-third of that of 2019, according to the government data.
The pandemic is one of the reasons behind the subdued growth as many migrant workers chose to return home, according to Peng Peng, executive president of the Guangdong Institutional Reform Research Association. But because the epidemic control and prevention policy has changed, inflows are expected to rebound greatly this year and next year, Peng added.
As of Dec. 31, 2022, China's urban population reached 920.7 million, accounting for over 65 percent of the nation's total. As the share is already high, it is reasonable to log slowing growth, Ding Changfa, associate professor at Xiamen University, told Yicai Global.
The ebbing appeal of cities affects housing demand. China’s real estate industry needs to face the problem of demand that will probably decline with the smaller annual additions, said Zhang Bo, director of a branch of the 58 Anjuke Institute.
But major cities will still have population inflows, which will provide great support for the property industry in these cities and their surrounding areas, as the attractiveness of the cities to the migrant workers is different, Zhang added.
Editors: Tang Shihua, Emmi Laine, Xiao Yi