Business / Industries

Property price growth slows

By Hu Yuanyuan (China Daily) Updated: 2014-01-19 09:03

Housing prices in the country's major cities continued to rise in December, but at a slower pace, the National Bureau of Statistics said on Saturday.

On a month-on-month basis, prices rose in 65 cities among the 70 the NBS monitors, compared with 66 in November. The biggest increase was 1.1 percent, compared with 1.3 percent in the previous month. Prices remained flat in three cities.

Overall, 92.9 percent of the cities posted monthly price increases last month, down from 94.2 percent in November.

On an annual basis, Zhejiang province's Wenzhou remained the only city that experienced a price drop last month.

The country's four first-tier cities saw the fastest year-on-year price growth. Shanghai led the list, with a 21.9 percent increase. Beijing ranked second, with a 20.6 percent gain, followed by Guangzhou at 20.4 percent and Shenzhen at 20.3 percent.

NBS' senior statistician Liu Jianwei said these major cities' slowing property price growth indicates recent tightening measures have started to kick in to stabilize the market.

Compared with the previous month, December's year-on-year growth rates in Beijing and Guangzhou both dropped half a percentage point, while Shenzhen decreased by 0.7 of a percentage point. Shanghai's remained the same.

Property developers are optimistic about 2014.

"We raised our sales target this year to 30 billion yuan ($4.96 billion), tripling 2013's sales," Cheung Kong Real Estate Ltd director William Kwok said.

That will be a record high sales figure, Kwok said. The company's annual sales in China from 2008 to 2012 ranged from 15 billion to 20 billion yuan. It sold 100 villas in Beijing last year and plans to sell 300 this year, he added.

"Although the price growth rate may slow a bit in Beijing this year, we still expect an increase of 7 to 10 percent in 2014," said Kwok.

Sun Hongbin, chairman of Hong Kong-listed Sunac China Holding Ltd, said there is almost no possibility of a price correction in such core cities as Beijing and Shanghai.

"We will definitely seize more land in 2014 than in the previous year," Sun said.

Major cities' land sales hit a record high in 2013, with the four top-tier cities' transaction amount exceeding 500 billion yuan - a roughly 150 percent increase over 2012, Centaline property agency's figures showed.

Sunac China aims for 65 billion yuan in home sales this year, Sun said. The company sold homes with a contract value of 50.8 billion yuan in 2013, making it China's 11th-largest developer.

Huayuan Group's outspoken chairman Ren Zhiqiang said a strong housing price increase is inevitable unless additional tightening policies are rolled out.

China's purchasing power in the overseas property market is also expected to surge.

Chinese investors in 2014 are likely to spend at least twice as much on overseas property assets as last year, a Colliers International report showed.

"A striking feature in the market is likely to be a big increase in outbound capital investment by Asian investors, and Chinese investors are set to lead the way in this trend," said Simon Lo, executive director of research and advisory, Asia, at Colliers International.

Favorite investment destinations will be gateway cities like London, New York and Chicago, the report said. "They will seek to exploit the big differences between the property cycles in Asia and the US and Europe to achieve better yields and enjoy the strategic benefits of diversification," Lo said.

Asia's accelerating economic growth, and rising industrial output and retail sales, all signal a positive outlook for the region's property markets in the coming year, Colliers International said.

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