Beijing first-half property sales fall 34.8 year-on-year, driven by residences

Two of the big factors in the drop are a subsidised-housing programme for first-time buyers and the success of restrictions meant to curb soaring prices

PUBLISHED : Friday, 18 July, 2014, 2:43pm
UPDATED : Friday, 18 July, 2014, 4:32pm

Overall property sales in Beijing slumped by 34.8 per cent in the first half of this year compared with the first half of last year amid a stagnant real estate market nationwide.

The Beijing municipal government reported today that sales of residential units in the first half fell by 35.2 per cent, indicating that the restrictions imposed to curb skyrocketing property prices were working.

Xia Qinfang, deputy director of the Beijing Bureau of Statistics, also attributed the year-on-year drop to the launching of a subsidised housing programme for first-time buyers, the data for which was not calculated in the overall residential sales figures.

In the first half of last year, sales of residential units had grown by 30 per cent over the first half of 2012, which “exerted quite a big challenge” to match this year, said Xia.

Ten subsidised housing projects are taking online application now, and construction has already begun on others. “Such policies have managed to stablise the real estate market quite well,” Xia said. “Since the start of the year, growth in property prices has kept falling, which is a good sign for people’s livelihoods.”

Nationwide, home sales dropped by 7.8 per cent in the first six months year-on-year, according to data released by the National Bureau of Statistics earlier this week.

More than 40 cities across the mainland have introduced home-buying restrictions since early 2010, as central authorities ordered local governments to curb real estate speculation and rein in the bubbling property market.

A number of them – including Wenzhou, Zhejiang, and Haikou, Hainan – have eased restrictions since the middle of last year as local authorities faced pressure from sliding economic growth, which relies heavily on the property market.