THIS is the incredible Chinese “ghost town” of mansions that have been reclaimed by farmers and where cattle roam under luxurious chandeliers.
The stunning development is nestled in the hills around Shenyang which just over a decade ago had a huge population of nine million.
The half-finished collection of mansions have been photographed with crumbling verandas and overgrown arches, and cattle is often seen walking through the abandoned properties.
Crystal chandeliers still hang from the patterned ceilings, and glamorous maps cover the walls between pillars and wooden beams.
Property giant Greenland Group started on the development in 2010, at a time when the real estate sector’s growth was in full swing.
But just two years later the State Guest Mansions project was left in the dust.
It was set to be a lavish pad of 260 European-style villas with swanky facilities for its exclusive visitors.
Now, local farmers work in the land that once destined to be luscious gardens for the wealthy homeowners and politically connected.
The reasons that the project was abandoned still remain unknown, but locals have their own ideas.
Inside the former sales centre at the State Guest Mansions development, graffiti covers the tattered walls – eerily suggesting that the local farmers aren’t the only visitors.
The area is often also filled with explorers, adventurers and thrill-seekers.
“This place is great for exploring, so I like to hang around here… and film a few clips,” one drone flier told AFP.
“Everything here has been left abandoned,” the man said, declining to give his name.
“It all feels quite creepy.”
China is notoriously awash with “ghost cities” with some yet to be finished, and others that are fully functioning – but with no residents.
Dozens of skyscrapers continue to pop up overnight in all corners of the country and chilling pictures show the vacant – and sometimes half-finished structures – which have been deserted.
Rows of post-apocalyptic housing estates tower over visitors, and impressive attractions and shopping malls gather dust without any residents or tourists stepping foot inside.
According to Insider, China had around 65million homes standing empty in 2020 – enough properties to house the population of France.
But many experts can’t put their finger on how many ghost cities currently exist in China.
Built on a mountain of debt, the construction boom started in the late 1990s when huge swathes of rural farmland was snapped up by local officials for redevelopment.
Constructing vast towns from scratch was an easy way for politicians to artificially boost economic growth during their time in office – and get a cushy promotion in Beijing.
Apartments were rapidly bought up by homeowners who had no intention of moving in, and prices rose – resulting in a massive property bubble and vast uninhabited cities.
With strict investment regulations in place in China, people sink their savings into real estate as a fool proof way of investing their cash and making a profit.
They also snap up the properties for their future spouses, kids and grandchildren, or as a retirement pot.
It means nearly all the properties in ghost cities are owned – but no one lives there, and some homeowners might never live there.
Max Woodworth, an expert in Chinese urbanisation, said China’s developers and buyers have “tremendous faith” that the value of their property will steadily creep up – and prices won’t crash.
He previously told Sun Online: “Even people who purchased homes in so-called ghost cities, in my experience, rarely express regrets.
“They have come to believe time is on their side and these cities will fill out over time and keep the home values steadily rising.”
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