China’s home prices rose in February for the first time in 18 months, a sign that government efforts to revive the battered market are starting to pay off.
(Bloomberg) — China’s home prices rose in February for the first time in 18 months, a sign that government efforts to revive the battered market are starting to pay off.
New home prices in 70 cities, excluding state-subsidized housing, gained 0.3% after being unchanged in January, the National Bureau of Statistics reported Thursday. Prices snapped an 18-month decline in the secondary market, rising 0.12%.
Authorities have ramped up financial support for cash-strapped developers and lowered mortgage rates in about two dozen cities after a crackdown sparked dozens of bond defaults and curbed demand for housing.
In another sign of the turnaround, sales rose in February for the first time in 20 months. The value of new home sales by the 100 biggest real estate developers climbed 15% from a year earlier to 461.6 billion yuan ($67 billion), according to data released last month from China Real Estate Information Corp.
Beijing is aiming for a soft landing in the real estate sector, rather than trying to fuel rapid growth. At the National People’s Congress, the Communist Party-controlled parliament, the government last week vowed to prevent “unregulated” expansion of the sector and made it clear they will focus on shoring up the balance sheets of “high-quality” developers.
Country Garden Holdings Co., China’s largest developer, last week set a grim mood for the upcoming earnings season by warning of its first annual loss in at least 16 years. Sixteen Hong Kong-listed Chinese real estate firms have so far flagged profit slumps for 2022, and that number is expected to grow, according to JPMorgan Chase & Co.
“Property market improvement is still limited in a few popular cities with stronger fundamentals,” Chen Wenjing, associate research director at China Index Holdings, said Wednesday ahead of the data release. “It’s too early to call an all-round recovery nationwide.”
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