Expertise, cooperation key to development of rental housing market

Expertise and cooperation are key to the future development of the country's burgeoning rental housing market, industry players told a real estate forum held in Shanghai.

Expertise and cooperation are key to the development of the rental housing market, major industry players told a real estate forum on Wednesday.

"While franchising has long been a priority, we have started to seek growth through various means including the sharing of our industry knowhow," Liu Jia, chief executive officer of Mofang (China) Service Group, told an annual property forum held by CRIC, a real estate data application service provider under Hong Kong-listed E-House (China) Holdings Ltd. 

"As demand for rental homes continues to increase, we remain upbeat about the potential of the industry and expect to see more players enter the market and substantial growth in overall inventory of rental units," Liu said.

Opening its first apartment complex in Nanjing, Jiangsu Province, in 2009, Mofang, whose investors include private equity firm Warburg Pincus, has extended its footprint to 20 cities with nearly 70,000 apartments under its management, making it the largest player in the country.

Zhang Aihua, head of Lingyu Apartment Rental, the long-term rental housing unit of Hong Kong-listed developer CIFI Holdings (Group) Co Ltd, shared a similar view.

"Professionalism and proactive approaches will be critical for the sustainable development of the rental housing industry," Zhang said. "For Lingyu, we will focus on product design, apartment operations and big data analysis."

First tapping into the residential rental business in 2017, Lingyu Apartment Rental is one of the fastest growing rental apartment operators with contracted apartments under its management exceeding 50,000.

Favorable demographics, rising barriers to home ownership, supportive government policies and an influx of capital are jointly boosting the growth of the rental housing market in China.

By 2022, 750,000 newly-built rental apartments will be available in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Hangzhou and Chengdu, compared with about 135,000 in the first half of 2018, real estate consultancy JLL predicts.

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