Concerns grow as real estate cool-down continues

Updated: 2014-05-19 08:59

By HU YUANYUAN (China Daily)

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Looking forward, the divergence in home prices and property developers' performances will be more obvious.

"Home prices in the country's first-tier cities are still expected to see an increase ranging from 5 to 10 percent this year, though smaller cities with high stock will experience a price fall," said William Kwok, director of Cheung Kong Real Estate Ltd.

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According to recent research by China Index Academy and Tsinghua University, the performance of listed property developers polarized last year, and this trend is set to continue in 2014.

Wang Shuo, a 32-year-old company executive in Beijing, said he was considering a home purchase within six months, betting on a price rebound next year.

With property investment growth decelerated alongside declines in housing sales and prices, more economists and investors are worried about a drag on the country's GDP growth, as real estate contributed nearly one-fourth of fixed-asset investment.

The latest Chinese macro data for April indicate a further economic deceleration in the second quarter. And the country could see the slowest annual rate of growth since 1990, according to Fitch Ratings.

"The data underscore our view that the property market poses the greatest risk of a sharper-than-expected slowdown," Andrew Colquhoun, a senior analyst with Fitch Ratings, said in a research note.

The feed-through effects from a weakening property sector on the economy as a whole confirm that real estate is a principal source of risk to China's sovereign and financial stability in the near term, Colquhoun added.

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