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Home prices in Chinese cities to continue rising

Updated: 2013-11-30 16:21
( Xinhua)

BEIJING -- In response to record high house prices and public discontent, local authorities in more than 10 major Chinese cities have rolled out new tightening measures since last month.

Financial institutions and analysts, however, expect prices in major Chinese cities, especially those with tight supply, to continue rising in 2014, defying local government's latest macro-control efforts.

Tightening amid record high prices

Driven by rapid urbanization, huge demand and speculation, house prices in major Chinese cities have spun out of control in recent years. It has become a major headache for both the central government and local authorities as more people are priced out of the market.

Other reasons behind soaring home prices included limited investment channels, unbalanced urban development across different regions, weak social management and over-reliance on land supplies for fiscal income by local governments.

In October, house prices continued to rise. According to the National Bureau of Statistics, property prices in 69 of China's 70 major cities grew year on year last month, reflecting strong underlying demand for residential homes.

The number of cities recording strong price gains of more than 10 percent year on year increased to 21 in October from 14 in September, a record high so far this year.

The four tier-1 cities -- Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen -- have maintained their record of posting the highest growth in property prices, at over a staggering 20 percent year on year in October. Their home prices soared to record highs.

As before, authorities in these cities announced additional tightening measures, in an attempt to manage soaring home prices.

Starting in October, the four tier-1 cities and eight tier-2 cities -- Wuhan, Zhengzhou, Nanchang, Shenyang, Xiamen, Changsha, Nanjing, and Hangzhou -- unveiled their new property control policies.

Zhang Dawei, an analyst with property agent Centaline Property, expected another 10 major cities to release their new measures before the end of the year.

Hu Zhigang, deputy head of China Real Estate and Housing Research Association, said the latest tightening measures by these cities employed traditional tools such as lower loan-to-value ratio, home-purchase restrictions and setting a home price ceiling.

In their new efforts, these cities also emphasized stricter enforcement of existing property measures, raising transaction costs for second home purchasing and increasing supply of government-subsidized houses, Hu said.

Undersupply and more price gains

Analysts maintained that new tightening measures by major cities might result in a short-lived cooling of the market, as the previous rounds of control efforts.

But house prices in these cities, especially mega-cities faced with undersupply, are likely to continue rising in 2014 to new highs.

J.P. Morgan Chase, in its latest industry report, forecast that the undersupply situation is likely to continue in tier-1 cities and some tier-2 cities next year owing to less land supply over the years.

For most tier-2 and lower-tier cities, J.P. Morgan said the market would continue to see more land sales than gross floor area sold, which should start kicking in and have a negative impact on the market in 2014.

Accordingly, it forecast a 10-percent growth in the average selling price of houses in tier-1 cities, 5 percent to 10 percent price growth in tier-2 cities with better supply-demand dynamic and a flattish price for those with worse demand-supply outlook.

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