China International Capital Corp. (CICC) stated that the new home sales could slide as much as 10%–calling it the “year of recession” for real estate, with sales to fall for the first time in five years.
The company’s analysts wrote: “Home prices are seeing downward pressure in some cities, especially in tier-3/4 cities and suburban areas in tier-1/2 cities. More and more potential home buyers adopted a wait-and-see attitude.”
S&P Global Ratings also made its predictions, stating that prices may fall as much as 5%–with some developers being dragged down in a sliding sector. It called their financing landscape “the most unfavorable in years.”
Last month, the government reported the first slowdown in property-price inflation in seven months. Officials are grappling with keeping housing affordable and keeping prices in check without imposing an excessive drag on the economy.
CGS-CIMB Securities Ltd. also predicted a 10% percent decline in prices and sales volumes.
Back in 2011, a UBS Group AG economist dubbed China’s property market the most important sector in the universe, due to its importance to the country’s growth and global expansion.
However, according to soon-to-be-published research, roughly 22% of China’s urban housing stock is unoccupied. This adds up to more than 50 million empty homes.
“There’s no other single country with such a high vacancy rate,” said Professor Gan Li, of Chengdu’s Southwestern University of Finance and Economics. “Should any crack emerge in the property market, the homes to be offloaded will hit China like a flood.”
The nightmare scenario for policy makers is that owners of unoccupied dwellings rush to sell if cracks start appearing in the property market, causing prices to spiral. The latest data, from a survey in 2017, also suggests Beijing’s efforts to curb property speculation — considered by leaders a key threat to financial and social stability — are coming up short.
The next data for 70 major cities is scheduled to come later this week.