- April 1, 2019: Vol. 11, Number 4

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A chill in the air: How investors can successfully weather changes in China’s housing sector

by Mard Naman

China’s current housing market seems contradictory at first glance. On one hand, official statistics show accelerating price growth. Using data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), Reuters reported average new-home prices in China’s 70 major cities rose 0.8 percent in December 2018 and 9.7 percent year-over-year. That compares with 5.4 percent growth in 2017.

And while sales-volume growth may be slowing, it is still positive on a 12-month basis and is at record levels in absolute terms, says Robert Ciemniak, founder and CEO of Real Estate Foresight, an independent analytics and research firm in Hong Kong.

But on the other hand, analysts and major developers warn of a “coming winter”, a recession for residential property and tough times for developers. Increasing numbers of anecdotes about price discounts and financing struggles are coming out of the country, says Ciemniak. Added to that, in 2018, China’s economy grew at its lowest rate in 28 years.

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