China's Housing Bubble Is Inflating Faster Than Ever

China Riot

The latest report on the property market in China is truly frightening. Despite measures taken by authorities to reign in the price explosion in Chinese real estate, prices rose at the fastest clip in nearly two years in February. 

Unless you have faith in the ability of China’s central planners to perfectly negotiate a soft landing, you should be preparing for a rough crash.

From the official Chinese news agency:

China’s property market grew at the fastest pace in 20 months in February, with housing prices rising at a double digit rate, despite the government’s cooling-down moves, according to data released Wednesday by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

Housing prices in China’s 70 large and medium-sized cities increased 10.7 per cent in February from a year earlier, and were up 0.9 per cent compared to the previous month, said the NBS.

Prices of new homes in February rose 13 per cent year on year, up 1.3 per cent from January, and were mainly pushed up by soaring home prices in Hainan Province as the state government decided to build the island into an international tourist resort in December.

Haikou, capital city of Hainan, ranked first among other major cities in new home price growth, which soared 58.4 per cent year on year in February. Sanya, the second largest city in Hainan, saw its new home prices up 56.1 per cent.

Prices of second-hand homes climbed 8.5 per cent in February from the same time last year, up 0.5 per cent from the previous month, according to the NBS.

Sanya topped other cities in second-hand home prices, with a rise of 42.2 per cent in February year on year, and was followed by Haikou, with a 41.7-per cent-growth, according to the NBS.

The figures were announced during the annual session of the National People’s Congress (NPC), the top legislature, when Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao reiterated determination to curb the excessive growth of home prices in major cities and satisfy people’s basic need for housing.

China’s central and local governments rolled out a series of measures to dampen the overheated property market at the end of last year, including reimposing a sales tax on homes sold within five years of their purchase and raising the down payment requirement for families buying a second house or more with bank loans.

In another move to cool the property market, the People’s Bank of China, the central bank, raised the deposit reserve requirement ratio in January, and in February for the second time.

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