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Real estate bubble deflating in China’s top-tier cities

Updated: Sep 19,2017 7:25 PM     Xinhua

China’s real estate bubble is deflating as home prices in top tier cities are cooling, according to analysts.

“The turning point for first-tier and major second-tier cities has emerged, given the pace of new home price growth slowed in 15 major cities compared with the same month last year,” said Zhang Dawei, an analyst with Centaline Property.

It is an overall decline for the first time in three years, Zhang added.

Home prices in 15 major cities declined by 1.3 percent to 6.6 percent year on year in August, data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed Sept 18.

The data provided fresh evidence that China’s property market boom is running out of steam as the government continues cooling measures to squeeze asset bubbles.

“In first-tier and major second-tier cities the real estate market continued to stabilize in August, driven by targeted regulation policies,” said NBS statistician Liu Jianwei.

Since the end of 2016, dozens of local governments have passed or expanded their restrictions on house purchases and increased the minimum down payment required for a mortgage as rocketing housing prices, especially in major cities, had fueled concerns about asset bubbles.

The market was also cooled by relatively tightened liquidity conditions as the government moved to contain leverage and risk in the financial system.

“The year-on-year price data remained within expectations, showing government cooling measures have gradually taken effect,” said Yan Yuejin, senior researcher with E-house China R&D Institute.

Fewer cities, only 46 out of 70, saw home price rises in August.

The asset bubbles were squeezed further in the first-tier cities, according to Yan, citing month-on-month price drops in these cities.

On a month-on-month basis, new home prices fell or remained flat in 13 cities in August, down from 14 in July, but up from 10 in June, according to the NBS.

In Tianjin, Nanjing, Wuxi, Hangzhou, Hefei, Fuzhou, Jinan, Zhengzhou, Wuhan, Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Chengdu, new residential home prices fell in August from a month earlier.

This came after NBS data showed that growth pace in property sales slightly dropped in the first eight months of the year.

Commercial housing sales measured by floor area gained 12.7 percent in the January-August period, retreating 1.3 percentage points from January-July.

By the end of August, 623.5 million square meters of property remained unsold, down by 11.4 million square meters from a month earlier, official data showed.

China should accelerate the establishment of a long-term mechanism to stabilize the property market, featuring increased land supply and a sound housing finance system, real estate tax system and urbanization infrastructure construction, said Liu Hongyu, head of the real estate research institute at Tsinghua University.

Shares of China’s real estate developers closed 1.44 percent higher on average on Sept 19.

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