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Experts Say Real Estate Prices Rising
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China's property prices will continue to grow next year, fuelled by the country's rosy economic growth and more restrained land supply in 2007, experts said.


According to Zhang Xin, chief executive officer of SOHO China, property prices are likely to continue growing next year despite a slew of macro policies introduced this year to rein in the overheating sector.


"If the fundamental factor, demand far exceeding supply, can't be changed, property prices can hardly drop," said Zhang.


Since the government released a regulation requiring 70 percent of residential apartments to be less than 90 square meters, quite a number of real estate projects have needed to be adjusted or postponed, further dragging down the supply and making property prices rise even higher.


Property prices in China's 70 large- and medium-sized cities rose 5.4 percent in October, 0.1 percentage points higher than September's rise, according to the National Development and Reform Commission.


Prices of high-end and ordinary residential properties saw a year-on-year rise of 7.7 percent and 6.4 percent, up 0.7 and 0.1 percentage point compared to September. Beijing witnessed the biggest price rise, with year-on-year growth of 10.7 percent.


As a leading property developer, Beijing-based SOHO China is frustrated with the drop in available land in the capital.


"We are now considering expansion to Tianjin next year, as the land supply in Beijing diminishes, and the land bidding in Tianjin is more transparent," Zhang added.


The government's macro policies may ease pressure on low and medium-priced residential buildings, but will further increase the price for high-end ones, said global property seller CB Richard Ellis in a report yesterday.


Li Yanhua, chief risks officer of Taikang Life Insurance, is quite optimistic about the future of China's commercial properties.


"We have bought several commercial buildings this year and will further strengthen our investment in this sector, even in some big and medium-sized cities," Li told China Daily yesterday.


Insurance companies' liabilities are mostly long-term, so finding good long-term assets to match them is pretty important, and real estate projects are among the best choices, Li explained.


"My confidence in China's real estate sector is based on the country's growing economy and limited land supply, especially in those hot areas," Li said.


Chen Fan, managing director of the investment arm of Standard Chartered, shares this view.


"China's property prices will definitely continue growing," Chen said at the Annual Forum of Caijing Magazine on Monday. "China's urbanization and the galloping forward of the gross domestic product (GDP) will shore up the property price."


Chen cited the huge amount of rural residents moving to the city as one reason for high demand in cities.


(China Daily December 13, 2006)


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