China Property Digest: Home Prices Keep Rising Despite New Curbs

BEIJING | Wed May 22, 2013 4:19am EDT May 22 (Reuters) – China’s home prices are still on the rise despite stricter measures by the central government and major cities in the past few weeks to calm frothy real estate market. The rise fuelled expectations that China could adopt further cooling steps, particularly the widening out of property tax on home owners. Property investment accounted for 11 percent of China’s gross domestic product in the first quarter of 2013. Here is a look at the latest news, numbers and more from China’s real estate market. REUTERS NEWS MAY 18 – China’s housing inflation accelerated to its fastest pace in April in two years, driven by a jump in prices in Beijing and Shanghai, complicating the task of policymakers trying to cool the property sector while supporting economic expansion. MAY 13 – Growth in real estate investment in China quickened in the first four months as developers saw improved liquidity conditions, though property sales slowed slightly due to continuing government curbs. MAY 10 – As central banks print cash to boost moribund economies, investors in Asia wanting to hedge against rising prices are dumping gold and doubling down on property. MAY 6 – China Vanke, the country’s largest real estate developer, said it sold 12.4 billion yuan ($2 billion) of property in April, up 67.6 percent from a year earlier. MAY 2 – Average home prices in China’s 100 biggest cities rose in April from the previous month, the eleventh straight month-on-month rise, a private survey showed, raising the risk of further tightening steps despite recent government measures to crack down on speculation. APR 25 – China should expand property ownership taxes to more cities instead of imposing a 20 percent capital gains tax on transactions if it wants to prevent a steep rebound in home prices this year, the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, a top state think-tank said. DATA Beijing’s property sales reached 5.6 million square meters in the first four months of 2013, up 71 percent from the same period last year, according to data from Beijing Bureau of Statistics. China’s central government will allocate 66 billion yuan to local governments to help build public housing for rent this year, the Ministry of Finance said. Existing home sales in Beijing plunged to 5,212 units in April, slumping 88 percent from the previous month and dropping 48 percent from a year ago, according to data from local property brokerage Home Link. Land sales in China’s 53 major cities rose 3 percent in April from a year ago and were down 11 percent from March, data from a private consultancy CRIC showed. CHINESE PRESS MAY 22 – About 30 Chinese developers have raised almost 80 billion yuan so far this year from overseas to support expansion. (Securities Daily) MAY 13 – China should gradually rely on market forces to control the housing market as the current administrative curbing measures could not change market sentiments on rising home prices, the newspaper said in a commentary.(People’s Daily) MAY 12 – China’s government is studying a long-term policy system to control the housing market , which is expected by analysts to improve its way of regulating the market and replace current home purchases restrictions. (Xinhua) THEY SAID — “Considering the special position of property industry in the economy , the policymakers will treat the market more reasonably and cautiously.”(Li Daokui, former academic adviser of the People’s Bank of China). — “Expectations on home price rises have not waned yet. China’s property tightening campaign is still at its critical moment and the country needs to reinforce implementations of cooling measures.” (Liu Jianwei, senior statistician at the National Bureau of Statistics, said in a statement accompanying the release of April home price data) (Reporting By Xiaoyi Shao and Kevin Yao; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu) Taylor Scott International

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