China property

Enthusiasm for property investment among urban Chinese households at 20-month low, survey finds

Drop most pronounced among richest respondents to Bank of Communications poll

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 07 December, 2017, 6:12pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 07 December, 2017, 10:46pm

The appetite for property investment among urban Chinese households dropped to a 20-month low in November, according to a survey conducted by global market research company Nielsen for the Bank of Communications, China’s fifth-largest bank by assets.

The bimonthly property investment index dropped to 109 last month from 113 in September, its lowest since March 2016, the Shanghai-based bank said on Thursday.

“Property investment enthusiasm from top urban households was dampened by governmental measures to cool down speculation, and the number of rental houses added to supply,” said the bank.

The findings are part of a broader index that has gauged urban wealth based on the opinions of 1,800 well-off Chinese households every two months since late 2010. Nielsen was commissioned to conduct a survey of households with an annual after-tax income of more than 100,000 yuan (US$15,121) in the top five cities of Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Chengdu, as well as those with incomes of at least 80,000 yuan in another 21 major cities.

The drop in enthusiasm was felt more among the most affluent households, as the index dropped by 10 points to 114 for families with non-fixed assets of more than 1 million yuan.

China has launched a spate of curbing measures to put a brake on high-flying home prices. These include capping the purchase of houses in major cities, trimming the amount of mortgage loans individuals can rely on to fund home buying, and drumming up supply of rental housing.

The Shanghai government has, for instance, an ambitious goal to provide 700,000 rental homes from 2016 to 2020, which would account for 41 per cent of the new supply on the market.

In the first 10 months of this year, home sales by area grew by 8.2 per cent, down from a pace of 9.3 per cent in the first three quarters of last year, according to data from the National Bureau of Statistics. Sales growth also slowed down by value by 2 percentage points to 12.6 per cent.

There could be a limited upside to China’s property prices going into 2018 against this backdrop. Property transactions will shrink in volume, according to a majority of the 51 financial institutions and more than 20 developers who assembled for a meeting on November 16 organised by the China Index Academy in Beijing, according to meeting minutes seen by the South China Morning Post.

The value of China’s property loans, loans for developers and mortgages grew at a slower pace during the first three quarters to 31.1 trillion yuan, according to data by the People’s Bank of China. The growth rate slowed by 2.4 percentage points to 22.8 per cent compared with last year.