Chinese Geographical Science ›› 2021, Vol. 31 ›› Issue (2): 359-375.doi: 10.1007/s11769-020-1171-7

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Spatial Identification of Housing Vacancy in China

PAN Jinghu1, DONG Leilei1,2   

  1. 1. College of Geography and Environmental Sciences, Northwest Normal University, Lanzhou 730070, China;
    2. Northwest Institute of Eco-Environment and Resources, Lanzhou 730000, China
  • Received:2019-10-09 Online:2021-03-20 Published:2020-10-24
  • Contact: PAN Jinghu
  • Supported by:
    Under the auspices of National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 2071216, 41661025), Research Capacity Promotion Program for Young Teachers of Northwest Normal University (No. NWNU-LKQN-16-7)

Abstract: The housing vacancy rate (HVR) is an important index in assessing the healthiness of residential real estate market. In China, it is hardly to take advantage of the basic data of real estate information due to the opaque of those data. In this paper, the HVR is estimated to two scales. At the grid level, urban area ratio was calculated by nighttime images after eliminating outliers of nighttime images and night light intensity of non-residential pixels in mixed pixels by a proposed modified optimal threshold method, and built-up areas in each pixel were extracted from the land-cover data. Then, the HVR is calculated by comparing the light intensity of specific grid with the light intensity of full occupancy rate regions. At the administrative scale, the GCI (‘ghost city’ index) is constructed by calculating the ratio of the total light radiation intensity of a city to the total construction land area of the city. The overall spatial differentiation pattern of the vacant houses in the national prefecture level administrative regions is analyzed. The following conclusions were drawn: vacant housing is rare in certain eastern coastal cities and regions in China with relatively fast economic development. Cities based on exhausted resources, some mountainous cities, and cities with relatively backward economic development more typically showed high levels of housing vacancy. The GCI of prefecture-level administrative units gradually declined from north to south, whereas the east-west distribution showed a parabolic shape. As city level decreased, the GCI registered a gradual upward trend. China’s urban housing vacancy can be divided into five categories: industry or resources driven, government planned, epitaxy expansionary, environmental constraint and speculative activate by combining the spatial distribution of housing vacancy with the factors of natural environment, social economic development level, and population density into consideration.

Key words: housing vacancy rate (HVR), spatial identification, nighttime light, spatial pattern, ghost city, China