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China's Vacant Property Surges
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The vacancy rate in China's commercial property sector surged 13.1 percent year on year to reach 121.69 million square meters of floor space by the end of August, the National Bureau of Statistics said Friday.


The vacancy rate for residential property increased by 11 percent in the same period to reach 66.44 million square meters.


Investments by property developers totaled 1.63 trillion yuan (US$204.52 billion) in the first eight months, up 28.1 percent year on year.


Loans from banks for property development shot up by 51 percent to reach 358.4 billion yuan, despite government efforts to curb loans to the sector as a precaution against mounting risk to the banking system amid soaring housing prices. There's a fear that if a bubble in the property market were to burst and housing prices were to tumble, the banks would be left holding billions of yuan in bad loans.


Foreign investment in property development soared by 35.8 percent to US$2.81 billion.


Property developers completed building projects totaling 1.55 billion square meters of floor space between January and August, a rise of 18.5 percent year on year.


Completed residential property developments totaled 1.21 billion square meters in floor space, up 19 percent.


The real estate climate index in August stood at 103.31, down 0.20 points from July but up 1.55 points over the same month of last year.


The index, which is compiled by the NBS, reflects the current climate of the real estate market in China.


(Xinhua News Agency September 15, 2006)


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