China property

Chinese property investment growth at lowest since financial crisis

Mainland sales revenue rose 13.1pc last month amid policy easing, reversing October decline

PUBLISHED : Friday, 12 December, 2014, 3:39pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 13 December, 2014, 6:44am

Mainland property sales revenue picked up last month after a dip in the previous month, pointing to tentative signs of a recovery following new policy measures to revive the key sector.

Property sales rose 13.1 per cent in November from a month earlier, compared with October's decline of 5.4 per cent, but still fell far short of the 41.5 per cent jump in September, according to calculations by the South China Morning Post based on data released by the National Bureau of Statistics.

"China's property market faces big challenges as the economy slows and restructures," Liu Zhifeng, head of the China Real Estate Association, told a forum this week.

The top leaders, wrapping up the three-day Central Economic Work Conference in Beijing on Thursday, made no mention of the real estate sector when they laid out the policy priorities for next year.

The statistics agency said real estate investment grew 11.9 per cent in the first 11 months from a year earlier, slowing from a rise of 12.4 per cent in the January-October period.

Meanwhile, developers refrained from buying more land. They spent 865.7 billion yuan (HK$1.1 trillion) on land reserves in the first 11 months, 0.1 per cent less from a year earlier.

Despite the pickup in sales, inventories kept on building as developers flooded the market with new projects to make the best use of the government's easing measures.

Unsold property space totalled 597.95 million square metres at the end of November, up 15.56 million square metres from the previous month.

A report by consultancy E-House (China) showed China Vanke launched 44 new projects in November, the highest this year, bringing to the market 3.06 million square metres of new space - triple the amount it released in October. Vanke, the mainland's largest developer by sales, did not publish the data in a statement to the stock exchange about its November sales and land acquisition activities.

Close behind Vanke in terms of new supply is Greenland Group, a state-owned developer based in Shanghai.

E-House estimates that about 60 per cent of its list of 19 mainland developers would be unable to hit their full-year sales target despite better performance in recent months after the central government relaxed mortgage rules in September and cut interest rates in November.

"Despite policies to stimulate demand and improving sales since the start of this quarter, the overall slack performance this year will not be reversed," it said.