October ends strong run for mainland home sales

Sales of homes dip on mainland as developers cut sweeteners to bring in homebuyers

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 10 November, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 10 November, 2012, 5:04am

The value of private housing sold on the mainland fell 6.8 per cent in October, despite strong sales gains in previous months.

Data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed October's sales amounted to 503.7 billion yuan (HK$620.22 billion), versus 540.4 billion yuan in September.

"Home sales in early September and in previous months were very strong. Developers also sped up launches of their new projects and offered sweeteners to lure buyers, which is why sales were strong, but then declined in October," said Clement Luk, chief executive at Centaline (China), in eastern and northeastern China. "But home sales during the Mid-Autumn Festival and the National Day holiday between September 30 and October 7, the property market's traditional peak season, were disappointing."

Luk said developers had also stopped offering further sweeteners to attract potential buyers.

But, the value of year-to-date sales remains up on the comparable period last year, though volumes are down.

Sales of private homes nationwide totalled 3.88 trillion yuan in the first 10 months of the year, 6.6 per cent more than the same period a year earlier. In all, 700.92 million square metres of housing was sold during the period, down by 1.2 per cent.

Luk said he expected monthly sales volumes to stay at present levels. "The financial health of developers has improved and they will no longer cut prices on their new projects or rush to release those projects," he said.

Developers are also turning from the residential to the commercial market, data show.

In the first 10 months, developers poured 3.97 trillion yuan into housing projects, an increase of 10.8 per cent.

By comparison, investment in retail property surged 25.8 per cent to 745.8 billion yuan, and investment in office property was up 31.4 per cent to 266.6 billion yuan.

Data also show that in the first 10 months of the year residential construction was down 12.7 per cent on the same time last year, amounting to 1,083.96 million square metres.

But construction of retail space rose 6 per cent to 183.16 million square metres; and construction of office developments rose 7.1 per cent to 47.52 million square metres.