In October, however, property transactions fell 39 percent year-on-year in China’s 15 biggest cities , according to government data. Nationwide, transactions dropped 11.6 percent, accelerating from a 7 percent fall in September.Property prices are falling in cities across China. Local and regional governments are chafing against the Beijing central government's recent tightening of lending rules, aimed to prevent runaway inflation. Some cities have openly defied the tightened banking rules, increasing tensions between the centre and the periphery in China today.
The fall-off in transactions has affected developers’ cash flows and, in some cases, their ability to repay bank loans. Rising defaults after a lending surge in 2009 and 2010, much of which ended up in the property sector, were cited by the International Monetary Fund this month as one of the Chinese financial sector’s biggest risks. _CNBC
Residential property prices are in freefall in China as developers race to meet revenue targets for the year in a quickly deteriorating market. The country’s largest builders began discounting homes in Shanghai, Beijing, and Shenzhen in recent weeks, and the trend has now spread to second- and third-tier cities such as Hangzhou, Hefei, and Chongqing. In Chongqing, for instance, Hong Kong-based Hutchison Whampoa cut asking prices 32% at its Cape Coral project. “The price war has begun,” said Alan Chiang Sheung-lai of property consultant DTZ to the South China Morning Post.It is indeed a reason for concern, when inter-governmental discipline within a police state such as China begins to break down. China has a long history of its empires fracturing into warring fiefdoms. As China braces itself for a leadership change next year, such pressures can only be seen as unwelcome.
...Citi’s Oscar Choi believes prices will decline another 10% next year, but that’s a conservative estimate. Even state-funded experts are more pessimistic. For example, Cao Jianhai of the prestigious Chinese Academy of Social Sciences sees price cuts of 50% on homes if the government continues its cooling measures.
When Beijing’s pet analysts are saying prices could halve in a few months, we can be sure they are thinking the eventual sell-off will be worse. In any event, the markets are bracing for trouble.
...recent purchasers have taken to the streets because they had suffered losses even before taking possession of their homes. A crowd of about 300 people in Shanghai smashed windows at the sales office of Longfor Properties on October 22, two days after the builder had ended a sales promotion on a project. The protestors had bought properties in earlier phases of the same project at prices as much as 30% higher than the discounted ones.
And then, on the 23rd, a smaller crowd—on the same street—demonstrated against another developer, Greenland Group. Protesters were injured in Shanghai at another demonstration, this time against a unit of China Overseas Holdings. There were also protests against builders in Beijing and in other cities, Hangzhou and Nanjing.
The cities of Hangzhou and Hefei have reportedly told developers to limit discounts to 20% to avoid unrest, but the attempt to establish fiat prices will not work for long because many builders face insolvency.
Moreover, Premier Wen has to be concerned that sometimes he cannot control his own cities, which have flouted his decrees by removing curbs on property ownership. _Forbes _ Gordon Chang