China's March new home prices dip 2.2%
ECONOMY & POLICY

China's March new home prices dip 2.2%

The report stated that new home prices in China experienced their most rapid decline in over eight years in March, with the debt issues of major property developers persisting and affecting demand along with the economic forecast.

It was mentioned that China's property sector, which contributes to nearly a quarter of the economy, has been grappling with a debt crisis since 2021. This followed a regulatory crackdown on high leverage among developers, leading to a liquidity crunch. Several developers reported weaker financial results for 2023 the previous month.

According to Reuters' calculations based on National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) data, new home prices saw a 2.2% decrease from the previous year in March, marking the largest decline since August 2015. This decline was more significant than the 1.4% fall observed in February. Additionally, prices dropped by 0.3% month-on-month, aligning with the decline seen in February.

Efforts by Chinese authorities to support the struggling sector, such as easing home purchase restrictions, aiding urban village renovation, and urging banks to expedite new loan approvals for financially strained developers, were noted. However, analysts pointed out that many of these policies are incremental or have limited short-term effects, thereby constraining home buying sentiment and hindering a comprehensive recovery.

The report highlighted that declines in home prices worsened year-on-year across tier-one, tier-two, and tier-three cities. This contrasted with the faster-than-anticipated Chinese GDP growth in the first quarter, indicating that the property sector will continue to weigh on the economy as it seeks stability post the COVID-19 pandemic.

Economist Woei Chen Ho at UOB in Singapore commented that the economic outlook isn't showing significant improvement, with continued downside risks due to the ongoing property glut.

Furthermore, it was mentioned that property investment and sales experienced a swifter decline in March compared to the previous year, according to Reuters' calculations based on separate official data released.

The report stated that new home prices in China experienced their most rapid decline in over eight years in March, with the debt issues of major property developers persisting and affecting demand along with the economic forecast. It was mentioned that China's property sector, which contributes to nearly a quarter of the economy, has been grappling with a debt crisis since 2021. This followed a regulatory crackdown on high leverage among developers, leading to a liquidity crunch. Several developers reported weaker financial results for 2023 the previous month. According to Reuters' calculations based on National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) data, new home prices saw a 2.2% decrease from the previous year in March, marking the largest decline since August 2015. This decline was more significant than the 1.4% fall observed in February. Additionally, prices dropped by 0.3% month-on-month, aligning with the decline seen in February. Efforts by Chinese authorities to support the struggling sector, such as easing home purchase restrictions, aiding urban village renovation, and urging banks to expedite new loan approvals for financially strained developers, were noted. However, analysts pointed out that many of these policies are incremental or have limited short-term effects, thereby constraining home buying sentiment and hindering a comprehensive recovery. The report highlighted that declines in home prices worsened year-on-year across tier-one, tier-two, and tier-three cities. This contrasted with the faster-than-anticipated Chinese GDP growth in the first quarter, indicating that the property sector will continue to weigh on the economy as it seeks stability post the COVID-19 pandemic. Economist Woei Chen Ho at UOB in Singapore commented that the economic outlook isn't showing significant improvement, with continued downside risks due to the ongoing property glut. Furthermore, it was mentioned that property investment and sales experienced a swifter decline in March compared to the previous year, according to Reuters' calculations based on separate official data released.

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