Spring break is finally here. For those of us on the Chazen Real Estate Study Tour, that means leaving our bathing suits behind for business attire and heading to Hong Kong and Beijing.
The reason? Because we’re about to have one of the most fun and fascinating experiences of our CBS careers, obviously!
Our organizers have put together an extensive itinerary that includes meetings with companies ranging from Blackstone, the world’s largest private equity firm, to local players like Swire Properties, one of the largest commercial landlords based in Hong Kong.
Company visits are just part of the agenda. In our spare time, we’ll see the Symphony of Lights, a famous light and laser show in Hong Kong. In Beijing, we’ll tour the Great Wall, Forbidden City and Tian’anmen Square. Of course, no CBS outing is complete without a night of karaoke. And those of us who are adventurous eaters will surely encounter some interesting food options. (As our agenda packet suggests, don’t be afraid to try the sticky bean curd and sample some shredded jellyfish.)
I can’t think of a more exciting time to experience the real estate boom in China firsthand. Population shifts from rural to urban areas are fueling demand for housing. But as we’ve all seen in the news, property prices have been rising so fast that many industry-watchers point to a bubble.
Moreover, we should examine issues of affordability with a curious and critical eye. One of our organizers, Karl Chan, gave us a teaser of what’s to come in his presentation on social problems under the real estate boom. I was surprised to see the size of cubicle apartments in Hong Kong, which I learned has the highest ratio of median housing prices to median income in the world.
Just a quick introduction on your blogger: I am a Knight-Bagehot fellow studying at CBS this year. I used to cover New York commercial real estate for the Wall Street Journal. I look forward to expanding my knowledge of real estate beyond the local level—and also, eating dim sum and singing karaoke with the group.
More to come soon. Safe travels, everyone.
-Anjali Athaveley ’14