Rents have risen in Beijing over the last year.
A couple of weeks ago I had dinner with a friend of a friend who runs six Century 21 real estate brokerages in Beijing. I asked him about rentals in the high-end residential market. Historically Chinese did not rent in the more expensive residential complexes–why waste the money on a pricey rental when you should save and buy your own place?
But according to my dinner companion, and my own experience, that is changing. 12-18 months ago the majority of his business came from renting to foreigners. Now the bulk of his clients are mainland Chinese, paying higher rents. He is happy but surprised and does not have a good explanation (policy paralysis? too much easy money? people seeing a top?) for the shift. He is also still selectively buying luxury properties in Beijing, so he certainly does not believe that the market has topped.
Whatever the reasons, at least for now it is good news for brokers like him and for landlords of higher end properties.