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Rental housing markets in Chinese megacities

Heterogeneity, Mobility, and Interconnectivity

Time: Mon 2022-06-13 10.00

Location: Kollegiesalen, Brinellvägen 8, Stockholm

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Language: English

Subject area: Real Estate and Construction Management

Doctoral student: Zisheng Song , Fastigheter och byggande

Opponent: Professor Elias Oikarinen, University of Oulu

Supervisor: Professor Mats Wilhelmsson, ; Researcher Agnieszka Zalejska -Jonsson, ; Universitetslektor Han-Suck Song,

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The purpose of this thesis is to develop an in-depth understanding of the rental housing market in Chinese megacities. To achieve this purpose, this thesis mainly focuses on three aspects: heterogeneity, mobility, and interconnectivity. It begins with constructing segmented rental indices and identifying market segmentation in Beijing, China, in Paper 1. It then proceeds with an extensive discussion about the neighborhood effects on rents, mainly involving the capitalization of school quality and its differentiation over space and time, in Paper 2. Considering the aggregate housing market, it is also worth investigating the interconnectivity between rental and owner-occupied sectors as evaluated in Paper 3. As an important body in the rental sector, tenants' preferences and residential mobility are crucial for the housing market. To address this concern, this thesis utilizes a push-pull model to detect determinants of tenants' relocation intentions from megacities to other urban areas in Paper 4. 

Beijing is selected for empirical study throughout this thesis because it is a typical megacity and the capital of China. Beijing is characterized by a huge rental population (residents and migrants), strict control of household registration (namely hukou in China), competitive public sources and employment, unaffordable housing prices, etc. Thus, understanding the rental housing market in Beijing can shed light on implications in other megacities and larger cities. 

The findings of this thesis can contribute theoretically and empirically to the real world. Rental submarkets differ in housing quality and space. Well-constructed segmented rental indices can effectively reflect rent volatility across market segmentations and improve the transparency of the rental market. Besides, neighborhood quality schools can significantly capitalize rents. A higher capitalization of quality schools may indicate inequality between tenants and homeowners in access to quality schools. Also, rents can be significantly affected by housing prices. Apart from rents, this thesis evaluates many determinants of tenants' relocation decisions, such as the pushing force of the hukou system and rental dissatisfaction, and the pulling force of homeownership in certain destinations.