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Shanghai home buyers still in low mood last moth

INADEQUATE supply of new homes coupled with a changing industry outlook jointly damped buyers' sentiment in Shanghai last month, latest market data showed.

The area of new residential properties sold, excluding government-subsidized affordable housing, fell 6.7 percent month over month to 363,000 square meters in February, Shanghai Centaline Property Consultants Co said today in a report.

The figure, a 49.1 percent plunge from same period a year ago, was also the lowest February data recorded in six years, according to the realty chain.

"The low transaction volume was no surprise since the first two months of a year usually register sluggish performance mainly because of the Spring Festival holiday," said Lu Wenxi, senior researcher at Centaline. "However, a shortage in supply and more importantly, a continuously changing outlook of the market, rather than pure seasonal reasons, kept more home seekers sitting on the sideline this year."

China will maintain stability in the property market this year following a roller-coaster ride of 2016, with measures to prevent home price surges in big cities, senior industry officials said last month. "Houses are built to be lived in, not for speculation," the country's policy makers said during an economic work conference in December.

On the supply side, some 286,000 square meters of new houses were released locally last month, a drop of 23 percent from January, mainly caused by stricter pre-sale approval and weak sentiment among real estate developers amid central government's unwavering stance to cool down the housing market.

By price, new homes sold for an average 47,201 yuan (US$6,830) per square meter last month, little changed from January.

Citywide, a high-end project in Sanlin, Pudong New Area, unloaded 147 units alone for an average cost of about 87,000 yuan per square meter, outperforming all other counterparts, according to Centaline data.


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