Mainland real estate investment growth slows to 13.7pc

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 13 August, 2014, 4:34pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 14 August, 2014, 4:25pm

Mainland real estate investment grew at the slowest pace in almost five years in the first seven months of the year, official data showed yesterday, posing the biggest downside risk to government efforts to ensure the 7.5 per cent economic growth target for the year is met.

Real estate investment rose 13.7 per cent year on year in the seven months, the slowest rate since August 2009, and down from an increase of 14.1 per cent in the first half of the year, the National Bureau of Statistics said.

The agency provides only cumulative, year-to-date data.

The mainland economy is heavily reliant on real estate investment, which accounted for 15.6 per cent of gross domestic product in the first half of the year. The proportion was even higher in some regions, reaching 36.3 per cent in the province of Hainan.

Property sales revenue in the first seven months fell 8.2 per cent year on year, deepening from a drop of 6.7 per cent in the first half.

Sales volume fell 7.6 per cent in the same period, after declining 6 per cent in the first six months.

Moody's Investors Service said in a report on Monday that a steep housing downturn on the mainland could derail the global recovery.

"We expect property sales growth of [up] to 5 per cent this year, but risks around this forecast are skewed to the downside," it said.

The residential property sector suffered an even worse correction than the broad real estate sector, according to official data.

Investment in residential property grew only 13.3 per cent year on year in the first seven months, while housing sales revenue fell 10.5 per cent.

Because of the slowing sales, the mainland's stock of unsold property amounted to 552.3 million sq metres by the end of last month, 8 million sq metres more than at the end of June.