Is there a housing bubble in the People’s Republic of China? With increasing regularity, scholars, commentators, and journalists writing in English can be counted on to use the existence of empty houses to argue that the current real estate market is a bubble just about to burst. Nevertheless, these claims (and claims like them) have been being made for nearly 15 years now, and the Chinese housing market has yet to “pop” in a way remotely comparable to the housing market crash of 2007 and 2008 in the United States. In this article, I draw on two years of ethnographic fieldwork conduced in Zhengzhou, Henan—paradoxically known both as one of the most notorious “ghost cities” visited by western journalists and as one of the PRC government's models of a healthy housing market—to demonstrate three points. First, I argue that the use of empty houses or rent-price ratios as a metric of bubble-ness is misguided in the PRC where there is no holding cost for residential property. Second, I show that keeping houses empty as a form of asset preservation has a particular cultural significance in unpredictable Zhengzhou, where empty houses are seen in opposition to fraudulent or nonexistent houses rather than to occupied or useful houses. Finally, I make a connection between empty houses in the PRC and unoccupied luxury condos, apartments, and mansions in places like Vancouver, Southern California, and even Princeton, New Jersey to show how the “empty house” as a cultural artifact is proliferating even in other markets.