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Nisha Gopalan

China’s Rental Surge Is a Gordian Knot

It’s hard to decree an investment boom while holding prices down.

Rents are lighting up in Shenzhen.

Rents are lighting up in Shenzhen.

Photographer: Brent Lewin/Bloomberg

Prepare for a crackdown on China’s overheated rental market.

President Xi Jinping’s push to develop housing for lease was supposed to take the edge off soaring home prices. It hasn’t worked out that way. Rents instead have rocketed as the government’s call triggered a stampede of investment into the sector, fueling discontent among a millennial population that had already been priced out of the market for home purchases.