The City of the Dead: The ghostly Chinese town filled with luxury properties that nobody lives in
Locals call it ‘The City of the Dead’, a ghostly urban landscape with no residents to fill it.
More than 100 villas stand empty after they were built six years ago for locals in the Chinese city of Beihai, in the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.
They were built to cater to a new rising class of wealthy people who, it was hoped, would invest in real estate and snap up the properties, many of which are priced at over three million yuan (£285,900).
Lonely luxury: The exclusive properties were snapped up by investors but remain empty six years on
Empty streets: A whole urban metropolis has been created but is devoid of residents
Standing by: The owners of the houses are hoping that rising property prices will make their investment worth it
Chinese citizens are not allowed to invest overseas, so there has been a real boom in real estate as people look for safe havens for their wealth.
In a bid to cater to those wanting to invest in property, entire cities have been built complete with skyscrapers, shopping malls, highways and parks. But they are often devoid of residents and turn into soulless ‘dead zones’ due to their distance from important economic centres.
Some workers, who can earn as little as $2 (£1.18) a day, have invested savings from up to to three generations of one family just to buy the properties, but can’t make use of them as they are too far from key city centres, meaning they are left with no residents at all.
Work needed: Further investment will soon be needed on the properties to maintain them as they have been standing empty for six years
Risky investment: After six years standing empty, the properties will soon need more money spent to maintain them
Unfinished: The properties look perfect from the outside, but are unfinished inside as investors are simply holding onto properties to wait for a profit.
Most hope the growth in property values will make the investment worth the risk, despite being unable to afford to live the houses they have invested in, however, observers believe China is over-building, which could cause a housing bubble of vacant properties.
Others say that the modernization of China is ‘the greatest urbanisation story the world has ever seen’, and that ghost towns like this one will soon become ‘thriving metropolitan areas’.
That remains to be seen. Six years on and with not a soul living in them, the villas will soon need more money spent on them to protect them from the elements.
Picture perfect: The town has been designed as a complete urban development but so far nobody has started living in the properties
On the waterfront: Some of the properties cost upward of £285,900, which is a huge investment for many Chinese families
Ongoing construction: Many of the new towns and cities springing up are not close enough to economic centres to make them viable places to live for the families who are investing in them
The construction industry not only employs hundreds of thousands of Chinese, but it has displaced hundreds of thousands of others who have been forced off their land and homes to make way for construction projects.
‘It’s a madness – homes built to stand empty!’ said one local who lives in a wooden shack.