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Lots of these are bought by foreigners. They don't care about people living there, they're just desperate to get their (possibly ill-gotten) gains out of their own country. Frankly tenants are a pain in the ass. If the house never appreciates in value, who cares? It's a better store of value than anything they have back home. I saw this a while back and bookmarked it.

"Auntie Lim (fictional) from Shanghai was a migrant from an inner China city and moved to Shanghai in the 1980s. She started a small business (aluminium scrap) and it exploded beyond her wildest dreams. Despite being almost illiterate and innumerate (never had formal education beyond grade school) she is now a multimillionaire. She hires staff to read to her and help her in accounts.

Auntie Lim is now getting on in age and needs to launder her wealth (mostly in cash - can you visualize entire rooms full of cash from floor to ceiling) and it can't be done in Chinese banks. If she doesn't do this she will have a bad time leaving her wealth in her inheritance since so much of it is off the books. Her agents tell her that property is the best way to trade in paper money for real assets. Being from the countryside she understands the value of land and quickly agrees - buying up houses in Australia and Canada, paid for mostly in hard cash. Very little loan (she doesn't trust interest, being unable to calculate it herself). The rental income from these houses is irrelevant to her, in fact tenants are a liability since they need to be managed (need to hire an agent) and they may even destroy the house which takes money to repair. She'd rather keep her properties in pristine condition thus sets the rental high to discourage "undesirable" tenants from renting."

John Pepple

Thanks for the comment, though I'm pretty sure my town is too obscure for foreigners to be interested in it.

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