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Townhouses top wanted list

VILLA sales almost tripled in Shanghai last month with townhouses, or so-called economy villas, remaining the most sought-after.

A total of 715 villas, including stand-alone villas, semi-detached houses and townhouses, were sold, a jump of almost 200 percent compared to February's 239 units, according to

The average price rose 8.5 percent from a month earlier to 17,104 yuan (US$2,504) per square meter, the real estate Internet services provider said.

That was similar to the city's apartment market where most transactions settled were in the mid to low-end segments, industry analysts said.

According to the research by Savills Property Services (Shanghai) Co, a monthly average of 24 villa units with average prices in excess of 25,000 yuan per square meter were sold in the first two months of the year, down from an average of 48 units in the fourth quarter of last year.

"While overall transaction volumes have shown some signs of improvement in February and through into March, it is still too early to say that we are witnessing a recovery in the market," said James MacDonald, senior manager of research at Savills.

Measures introduced by both central and local governments late last year, including favorable loan policies and tax and fee cuts, would continue to boost transaction volume but the high-end residential market is expected to remain subdued for some time, said Hingyin Lee, director of research and advisory for real estate services provider Collier's east China operation.

While most analysts agree full recovery of the housing market is still far off, buying sentiment for luxury homes is improving due to major price cuts.

E-House (China) Holdings Ltd said 436 high-end new apartments, costing more than 30,000 yuan a square meter, were sold last month in Shanghai compared to just 83 in February.


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