Property agents, housing markets and housing services in transitional urban China

Bo Sin Tang, Siu Wai Wong, Sing Cheong Lui

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


This study examines the particular role, services and functions of property agents in the housing markets in mainland China. Since the implementation of housing market reforms, cities on the Chinese mainland have transferred from a centrally-directed, welfare-oriented housing system to a more decentralized, market-based one. Commodification of housing has expanded the opportunity of new market intermediaries to service the growing urban housing markets. Yet there appears to be little research on these agents, which bear similarity in name, but not exactly in operation, to those in a market society. Based upon insights from new institutional economics, this study examines how the existing institutions in China have constrained and facilitated their services in the housing transaction process. This micro-analytical study provides a different means towards understanding the market transformation of a socialist housing system.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)799-823
Number of pages25
JournalHousing Studies
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2006


  • Housing transaction
  • Institutions
  • Transitional economy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Urban Studies


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