Zhuhai removes home buying restrictions on non residents

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 16 March, 2016, 9:32pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 16 March, 2016, 9:32pm

Zhuhai, the Chinese city bordering Macau, lifted all home buying restrictions on non residents Wednesday, in the latest action by a municipal government seeking to rekindle housing sales.

The city lifted restrictions on flat purchases by non-locals for units under 144 square meters in its core area — Xiangzhou District.

Zhuhai has enforced strict buying restrictions in Xiangzhou since 2011, but lifted buying restrictions on flats larger than 144 square meters in 2014 amid slow sales and increasing stock.

“The inventory level in Zhuhai is pretty healthy now and market sentiment is good,” said a major Zhuhai developer.

The developer, who asked not to be identified, said the action would not have a large impact on the market, but underscores the government’s policy stance on supporting the housing sector.

Home prices in the southern Chinese city have seen a strong rebound this year, jumping 4.2 per cent month on month in February to a record 14,668 yuan (HK$17,462) per square meter, after a 2.8 per cent growth on month in January, according to data from China Index Academy.

Andy Lee, chief executive of Centaline Propery Agency Southern China, said local governments are responding to the central government’s guidance to prop up the housing sector, a key driver of economic growth.

The developer said it expected the new policy to attract buyers from Macau, Hong Kong as well as other regions in China, as home prices are comparatively low.

“Prices should surge ahead of the launch of Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge,” he said.

According to an updated construction schedule, the cross border Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge is expected to be operational in late 2018, or about a year later than originally forecast.

Zhuhai officials on Wednesday also lifted restrictions that required developers to provide 70 per cent of flats of 90 square meters or less in a project.

Price divergence in China’s property market has intensified in the last year, with home prices skyrocketing in big cities but plunging in smaller ones where new supply has outpaced demand.

Strict home buying restrictions remain in Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Guangzhou, and Sanya in Hainan, but have been lifted in other urban centres.