China Property

Home prices defy curbs to rise further

Strong demand continues to fuel increases across the country despite tightening efforts

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 02 May, 2013, 3:15pm
UPDATED : Friday, 03 May, 2013, 3:36am

Driven by strong demand, average prices of new homes in 100 major mainland cities rose 1 per cent last month from March, extending the run of increases to 11 consecutive months, the China Index Academy said.

But the rate of increase fell. Home prices in March rose 1.06 per cent from February, said the academy, which is owned by SouFun, operator of the country's biggest property website.

Year on year, average prices rose 5.34 per cent last month - compared with 3.9 per cent in March - to 10,098 yuan (HK$12,728) per square metre.

Average selling prices rose month on month in 76 of the 100 cities surveyed by the academy, while 24 cities posted declines.

In 10 major cities selected by the academy, average prices rose 1.31 per cent month on month to 17,023 yuan per square metre.

The biggest rise was in Beijing, where average prices grew 3.11 per cent month on month. In Guangzhou, they rose 2.41 per cent. In Shenzhen, Nanjing (in Jiangsu) and Chengdu (in Sichuan), prices rose 1 to 2 per cent.

In the face of slower price growth, sales volumes in many cities plunged after the central government issued new rules in March to rein in home prices.

But analysts said the details of the property market tightening measures recently announced by local governments were benign, with no drastic increase in tightening compared with last year - the aim being to avoid a drastic drop in the property market.

"They are certainly far more accommodative than the market expected," BNP analyst Lee Wee Liat said in a report last week.

Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Tianjin and Chongqing announced strict implementation of a 20 per cent capital gains tax, but other cities have been silent on the tax.

Meanwhile, the mainland's commercial property market has been growing in value. A report released by international consultancy DTZ said China overtook Japan to become the Asia-Pacific's largest market, with the value of commercial properties held by investors, described as "invested stock" in the report, growing to US$1.5 trillion last year.

The amount represented 15 per cent growth in local currency terms compared with 2011, reflecting the country's robust economy and rising property prices, said Kate Barrow, the head of DTZ's Asia-Pacific forecasting department.

Invested stock is defined by the property consultancy as investment-grade commercial real estate held by investors.

The growth in value was due to factors such as new construction and an increase in prices, according to Barrow, who is a co-author of the newly released report on the Asia-Pacific, "Money into Property".