How can I profit on the Chinese Real-Estate Bubble?
Perhaps buying some internationally exchanged stock of China real-estate companies?
It's never too late to enter a bubble or profit from a bubble after it bursts.
As a native Chinese, my observations suggest that the bubble may exist in a few of the most populated cities of China such as Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen, the price doesn't seem to be much higher than expected in cities further within the mainland, such as Xi'an and Chengdu.
I myself is living in Xi'an. I did a post about the urban housing cost of Xi'an at the end of last year: http://www.xianhotels.info/urban-housing-cost-of-xian-china~15
It may give you a rough idea of the pricing level. The average of 5,500 CNY per square meter (condo) hasn't fluctuated much since the posting of the entry. But you need to pay about 1,000 to 3,000 higher to get something desirable. For location, just search "Xi'an, China" in Google Maps.
I actually have no idea how you, a foreigner can safely and easily profit from this. I'll just share what I know.
It's really hard to financially enter China. To prevent oversea speculative funds from freely entering and leaving China, the Admin of Forex (safe.gov.cn) has laid down a range of rigid policies regarding currency exchange.
By law, any native individual, such as me, is imposed of a maximum of $50,000 that can be converted from USD to CNY or the other way around per year AND a maximum of $10,000 per day. Larger chunks of exchange must get the written consent of the Admin of Forex or it will simply not be cleared by any of the banks in China, even HSBC that's not owned by China. However, you can circumvent this limit by using the social ID of your immediate relatives when submitting exchange requests. It takes extra time and effort but viable.
However, things may change drastically should China be in a forex crisis or simply war. You may not be able to withdraw USD at all from the banks in China, even with a positive balance that's your own money.
My whole income stream are USD which is wired monthly from US to Bank of China. I purchased a property in the middle of last year that's worth 275,000 CNY using the funds I exchanged from USD I had earned. It's a 43.7% down payment on a mortgage loan of 20 years: http://www.mlcalc.com/#mortgage-275000-43.7-20-4.284-0-0-0.52-7-2009-year (in CNY, not USD)
The current household loan rate is 6.12% across the entire China. However, because this is my first property, it is discounted by 30% to 4.284% to encourage the first house purchase. There will be no more discounts of loan rate for the 2nd property and so forth to discourage speculative stocking that drives the price high.
The apartment I bought in July of 2009 can easily be sold at 300,000 now. Some of the earlier buyers have enjoyed much more appreciation than I do. To give you a rough idea, a house bought in 2006 is now evaluated 100% more, one bought in 2008 now 50% more and one bought in the beginning of 2009 now 25% more.