Prices keep rising but slowing trend seen in China

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 19 December, 2013, 1:37am
UPDATED : Thursday, 19 December, 2013, 1:37am

The mainland's annualised housing inflation accelerated last month despite fresh cooling measures in more than a dozen cities, but the statistics agency sought to play down concerns by saying month-on-month price increases have slowed.

Shanghai again led the gainers among the 70 major cities tracked by the National Bureau of Statistics, with an annualised rise in prices of 21.9 per cent in November, followed by Beijing with 21.1 per cent, Shenzhen 21 per cent and Guangzhou 20.9 per cent.

That marked a pick-up from October's annual increase of 21.4 per cent in Shanghai, 21.2 per cent in Beijing, 20.7 per cent in Guangzhou and 20.6 per cent in Shenzhen.

Cities with soaring prices have intensified their property tightening efforts
LIU JIANWEI, SENIOR STATISTICIAN

"Although tier-1 cities face harsher property tightening measures than other cities, strong demand from expanding populations is driving home prices to much higher levels," said private real estate research and data provider CRIC in a report after the data release.

A total of 26 cities posted annual housing inflation of 10 per cent or higher last month, up from 21 in October.

A number of factors are keeping property prices buoyant including solid inflows of foreign direct investment (FDI), which the Ministry of Commerce said yesterday totalled US$105.5 billion in the first 11 months of the year - up 5.5 per cent from a year ago.

FDI flows particularly strongly into top tier cities, as investors typically channel capital towards flagship projects in high-profile locations, exacerbating the price pressures that are already evident in the domestic system.

But the statistics agency played down the quickening annual rise in home prices, pointing to a slowing month-on-month increase.

The agency said in month on month terms, average home price in the 70 cities rose 0.6 per cent in November, down from 0.7 per cent in October. The pace in the four tier-1 cities remained above the average, with home prices increasing 0.7 per cent in Beijing and Shanghai, 0.9 per cent in Shenzhen and 0.8 per cent in Guangzhou.

"This is mainly because cities with soaring prices have intensified their property tightening efforts, by raising transaction costs of second homes and increasing the supply of affordable homes," Liu Jianwei, a senior statistician at the NBS said in a statement.

Apart from measures to check home price rises in the short term, regulatory authorities have sought to establish a long-term policy kit that will reduce local governments' reliance on the property market, curb housing speculation by the rich, and increase the supply of homes affordable for average and poor families. However, it will take months, if not years, for the measures to make any significant breakthroughs.

Meanwhile, mainland developers had been quickening their outbound property investment in the first 11 months, the Commerce Ministry said, without providing the exact numbers.

China Vanke, the country's biggest home builder by sales, in June partnered with Tishman Speyer to build a luxury condominium project in San Francisco. Other mainland developers venturing abroad include Dalian Wanda Group, Greenland Group, Country Garden and Vantone.