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July 4, 2017

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Home sales fall by half as gov’t reins in market

NEW home sales more than halved in the first six months of this year in Shanghai as the toughest-ever measures to cool an overheated housing market kicked in.

It was the worst June result in six years.

Sales of new residential properties, excluding government-subsidized affordable housing, totaled 3.57 million square meters, or about 29,300 units, between January and June.

That was a plunge of 52.8 percent in area and 51.8 percent in units from same time last year, Shanghai Homelink Real Estate Agency Co said in a report yesterday.

In June, about 686,100 square meters of new homes were sold across the city, a fall of 3.4 percent from May and 45.1 percent from the same period a year earlier, according to Homelink data.

About 620,300 square meters of new houses were released onto the market in June, down 15.2 percent from May.

“While approaching the end of the first half, June would usually see a notable jump in property sales as many real estate developers gear up for better six-month results,” Homelink, the largest pre-occupied house brokerage chain in Shanghai, said in the report.

“However, this year’s figure was actually the worst June data registered in the city since 2011.”

In four of the past seven years, new home sales in June exceeded 1 million square meters in Shanghai, with 2015 topping all with monthly transactions for 1.47 million square meters.

Even in the low years of 2011 and 2014, June data exceeded 700,000 square meters, Homelink said.

“The continuing slack performance we saw in the local housing market was mainly a result of tightening measures which have been greatly damping the sentiment of potential buyers,” said Lu Wenxi, senior manager of research at Shanghai Centaline Property Consultants Co.

Restrictions to quell demand from both speculators and upgraders, including stricter home purchase curbs, higher downpayment requirements and mortgage rates, have been blamed for slower home sales in Shanghai.


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