China’s property sector to see mild growth, divergence in 2016: report

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TRAVEL GAZETTE – Housing prices in China are expected to grow steadily in 2016, while divergence between bigger and smaller cities will continue, according to a property research organization.

Government policy has perhaps helped to ease the housing glut to some extent this year, leading to improved prices and demand in major cities, China Index Academy said in its latest report.

Authorities will continue to focus on destocking the property inventory in 2016, with the national average housing price expected to rise 4 percent to 7 percent, it said.

So far this year, the average residential housing price in 100 major cities has increased 3.39 percent year on year, according to the report. While top-tier cities recorded a price rise of 15.1 percent this year, second- and third-tier cities saw prices fall.

The market divergence will become more apparent in 2016, as population inflow and economic prosperity drive house prices higher in big cities while oversupply takes prices in smaller cities to the opposite direction, the report said.

China’s property market took a downturn in 2014 due to weak demand and a supply glut. This cooling continued into 2015, with sales and prices falling, and investment slowing.

To combat the market weakness and a broader economic slowdown, China’s central bank cut benchmark interest rates five times and lowered banks’ reserve requirement.

The country also lowered down payment requirements for second-home purchases and some local governments have rolled back restrictions.

The housing sector showed signs of recovery in summer and autumn with improving home prices.

Destocking the property inventory will be a major task in 2016, according to a statement released last week after the Central Economic Work Conference, which mapped out economic work for next year.

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