Many Americans seem convinced that their housing market will remain in the doldrums indefinitely. Conversely, the rapid recovery of China’s economy from the global financial crisis has led many to believe that real estate in the Middle Kingdom is a one-way bet. In fact, property is the most cyclical of assets. Housing booms crater, while depressed real estate markets eventually recover. Part One of this paper aims to describe a typical real estate cycle through its various stages. In particular, I try to identify the characteristic features of the cyclical peaks and troughs.
Part Two applies this understanding of the real estate cycle to the world’s two most important property markets, namely those of China and the United States.