Top China developers battle for Beijing land site in sign of increasing competition amid red hot property market

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 16 November, 2016, 10:05pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 16 November, 2016, 10:10pm

Land put up for auction in Beijing’s northwestern Haidian district failed to find a buyer on Wednesday after bidding hit a price ceiling set by the municipal government as it expands efforts to cool the sizzling property market.

The government did not select winning bids for two land parcels because all four bidding developers met the tighter new land sale rules that require buyers to keep residential developments built on the sites as long-term investments for rental and not for sale.

In a move to cool down the red-hot housing market in the capital city, the municipal government set tougher requirements on the sale of two sites auctioned on Wednesday.

Under the new requirements, bidders enter the second round of selection when the price ceiling set for the lot is reached. The winning bid is determined by the total development area the bidder designates for rental purposes.

Bidding for the 83,550 square metre parcel in northern Haidian district entered the second phase of selection when the 5 billion yuan price ceiling was hit.

However, the four developers – Poly Real Estate, Longfor-Beijing Capital Development Holding consortium, Greenland Holding Group, and China Vanke – each promised to devote 100 per cent of the residential property for rental purposes.

According to the rules, they will now enter the third phase of selection that is judged on building standards used in the development. The four developers will submit their building proposals in 10 days and a verdict will then be given.

Another land parcel in Haidian went through a similar process on Wednesday, when four final bidders not only promised to hold for rental all the residential properties, but also adhere to rent-only for the ancillary commercial part of the project. They now have to enter the third phase of the auction and compete on building standards.

“For these bidders, making money is not their purpose,” said Kang Peng, an analyst with Centaline Property Group. “The 100 per cent self-holding [rule] violates their fundamental high-turnover model. Having a foothold in the capital and branding is their only justification.”

The two parcels had a cap for both land price and home price prior to Wednesday’s auction, but the home price cap became irrelevant when all developers pledged 100 per cent of the properties for rental.