The troubles facing highly indebted property developers in China have dominated conversations about the Asian nation’s economy and markets this year. Yet according to Rayliant Global Advisors’ Jason Hsu, there’s an important distinction between this housing crisis and previous ones elsewhere: The developers are the ones who are over-leveraged—not households. And that difference is guiding policymakers’ response.Hsu, chief investment officer of Rayliant and a co-founder of Research Affiliates, joined the What Goes Up podcast to discuss China and other emerging markets. “Chinese households are not levered when it comes to real estate,” he says. “They’re not levered because they can buy their first home with money down—and they pay quite a bit money down—and they generally have to sort of have enough income to cover the payment. That bankruptcy you’re seeing in the developer sector is very engineered. On the household side, there’s not a balance-sheet crisis, because they’re not buying real estate on leverage. So they really don’t think there’s a meaningful problem there.”
©2023 Bloomberg L.P.