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China is expected to announce new measures to fix its property crisis, spur growth
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China is expected to announce new measures to fix its property crisis, spur growth

  • PublishedMay 17, 2024



Housing prices in China slumped in the first four months of the year, although factory output rose nearly 7%, according to data released Friday, as the country prepares to announce fresh measures to reinvigorate its ailing property industry.

Officials of the National Bureau of Statistics acknowledged that domestic demand — spending by consumers and businesses — remained “insufficient” and said the government was considering further ways to revitalize the property industry after housing prices sank 9.8% in January-April from a year earlier.

Liu Aihua, spokesperson for the bureau, said that in keeping with policies set by the Communist Party leadership, there was a need to find ways to balance supply and demand, meet public expectations for high-quality housing and “seize the opportunity to build a new model of high-quality development of the real estate sector.”

The State Council, China’s Cabinet, said it would hold a news conference later Friday focusing on the property industry.

China’s housing market has slumped after a crackdown on excessive borrowing by property developers several years ago, dragging along a wide range of other businesses and slowing growth in the world’s No. 2 economy.

Dozens of developers, whose legions of high-rise apartments have transformed urban landscapes across China, have defaulted on their debts.

The government has cut interest rates and freed up billions of dollars of financing to help financially struggling developers deliver housing already promised and paid for.

Some local governments are buying apartments that are going unsold due to weak demand, with plans to rent them out as affordable housing in trial programs that may become national policy.

The financial news outlet Caixin reported that the housing ministry, the central bank, other government agencies and state-owned banks were setting up a joint task force to brainstorm ways to revitalize the industry.

China’s economy grew at a robust 5.3% rate in the first quarter of this year, but that is relatively slow for a developing economy, and signs of weakness have persisted.

The report Friday by the National Bureau of Statistics showed factory output was up 6.7% in April from a year earlier and investment in fixed assets such as factory equipment climbed 4.2%.

But housing starts fell almost 25% year-on-year and sales as measured by floor area were down 20%. Financing for property projects fell 25%.

Retail sales rose only 2.3% in April.

Officials said they expected demand to rebound as the government carries out policies aimed at getting households to sell off old cars and appliances and buy new ones.

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Associated Press researchers Yu Bing and Wanqing Chen in Beijing contributed to this report.

Copyright 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.



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