Industry observers say China's real estate sector is likely to pick up steam in 2013, as they expect increased housing sales due to growing market demand.
|Industry observers say China's real estate sector is likely to pick up steam in 2013, as they expect increased housing sales due to growing market demand.|
The anticipation, which comes amid reports of rebounding home prices and increasing housing transactions in some cities, suggests future complications in the government's campaign to rein in the country's runaway housing prices.
Despite strict control measures, many large property developers have reported good sales and an improved financial situation in 2012, said Zhang Dawei, a marketing director with the Centaline Group, a Hong Kong-based real estate company.
"It's likely they will regain their zeal for land purchases, helping the land market to climb out of the trough in 2013," Zhang said.
Surging housing prices have been a significant source of complaints in China. The government has implemented a string of policies, including bans on third-home purchases and property tax trials, to cool the real estate sector since early 2010.
But the property market has shown signs of warming in recent months, particularly after the central bank twice cut interest rates and the reserve requirement ratio for banks to buoy the economy earlier this year.
In November, 53 cities out of a pool of 70 major cities recorded higher new home prices than a month earlier, up from 35 in October, according to statistics from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).
Meanwhile, total housing sales surged 9.5 percent year on year to 5.35 trillion yuan (850.83 billion U.S. dollars) in the first 11 months, up from a rise of 5.6 percent seen in the January-October period, according to the NBS.
On Thursday morning, Xinhua reporters saw hundreds of people lining up outside a housing transaction center in Beijing's suburban Fengtai district. Many were there to make their housing purchases officially legal.
"Such large crowds were not seen earlier this year or even during the same period last year," said one of the center's employees.
Hu Jinghui, vice president of 5i5j Real Estate, said that although China's restrictive policies have helped contain speculation, robust demand from first-time home buyers will continue to push up sales.
China is undergoing rapid urbanization. Its urban population outnumbered that of rural areas at the end of last year, an increase that is expected to give momentum to urban property markets as new settlers seek accommodation in cities.
Demand was temporarily suppressed over the last two years, as the malaise in the market brought about by stringent government controls was believed to have deterred many potential buyers.
Buyers began to rush into the market in November, however, as they feared an upturn in prices would soon materialize due to an absence of tougher control measures and credit policies, which many say are signs of loosening government controls, Zhang said.
"The government has mostly been reiterating (existing control measures) this year without taking further action to tame the market," Zhang said. "A string of signs like this is buoying the market."
This week, Chinese real estate developers' share prices surged on official remarks that China would "actively and steadily" push forward urbanization in 2013.
Hu said housing sales and prices nationwide will likely continue to rise in 2013, although a dramatic surge is unlikely. He added that the pace of recovery will be quicker in big cities like Beijing and Shanghai.
Experts have urged the government to stick to existing property controls and pass new regulations to offset the impact caused by the warming of property market.
"China's property controls are still in a crucial stage. It's important that the government show resolution in its efforts to curb price hikes," Zhang said.
The government has said it will stick to its property market controls next year while building millions of affordable housing units to divert demand.