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January 14, 2010

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Home » Business » Real Estate

Rise in ratio won't hit property

THE central bank's unexpected raising of the bank reserve ratio will not likely impact immediately the real estate market though uncertainties in the sector are growing, industry analysts said.

Effective next Monday, the reserve ratio - the amount of money a commercial bank must deposit with the central bank - will rise 0.5 percentage point, and China's big-five state-owned banks are required to put aside 16 percent of their capital.

"The increase, the first since June 2008, should be viewed as a signal by the central government that it would tighten liquidity rather than a move to cool the real estate market," said Hingyin Lee, director of research and advisory for east China operations at Colliers International, a real estate services provider. "The plunge by real estate companies in the stock market was kind of an overreaction."

China Vanke, the country's largest listed developer, fell 2.43 percent yesterday. Gemdale and Poly Real Estate both dived by more than 4 percent.

Gong Min, a research manager at Shanghai Centaline Property Consultants Ltd, operator of the city's largest estate chain, agreed.

"While the latest move did indicate the government might raise interest rate in the coming months - a much tougher measure to drain the liquidity, compared with raising the bank reserve ratio - a negative impact on the real estate market should be very limited," Gong said.

However, analysts warned that a "tightening monetary stance" is adding uncertainties to the market and investors should expect policies to curb speculation and cool the sector.

"The increase in the bank reserve ratio could mark a start of a turnaround, and we may possibly see a downward correction of property prices this year," said Xue Jianxiong, an analyst with E-House (China) Holdings Ltd, the country's largest integrated real estate services provider.

"But we don't expect to see prices dropping in six months, as inadequate supply and demand from end-users would continue to lift home prices, but at a slower pace."


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