chinese property

Moody’s Investors Service says that China’s property market — after posting a record high in 2016 — will show nationally a slower pace of sales growth in 2017 on the back of the government’s tightened controls to curb property price growth.

“We expect nationwide contracted sales in 2017 will be largely flat or will see a slight decline from 2016, after buoyant growth that year,” says Chris Wong, a Moody’s Analyst.

Overall, national contracted sales (on a sales value basis) grew by 36.2% year-on-year to a record high of RMB9.9 trillion in 2016, driven by growth in both sales volumes and average selling prices.

“However, the growth pace in December 2016 slowed from that seen in the first three quarters of 2016 after the government implemented tightening measures to cool the sector from late September,” adds Wong.

Moody’s conclusions were contained in its recently released monthly China Property Focus.

At the same time, Moody’s expects its rated developers will continue to extend their market share over the next 12 months — with 20 of the rated developers that Moody’s tracks growing their market share to 22.3% of contracted sales nationwide in 2016 from 20.0% in 2015 — because their strong execution ability, reputable brands, and solid financial and liquidity profiles will strongly position them to benefit from the industry’s ongoing consolidation.

These 20 rated developers expanded their contracted sales by 52.0% year-on-year to around RMB2.2 trillion in 2016, outpacing the 36.2% increase in national sales over the same period.

Looking at the effects of the cooling measures, Moody’s notes that in December 2016, 46 of China’s 70 major cities saw month-on-month price growth, down from 55 cities in November and 62 cities in October. Meanwhile, 20 cities saw month-on-month price declines, increasing from 11 cities and 7 cities over the same periods.

Moody’s also points out that the inventory of residential properties — as measured by gross floor area (GFA) available for sale over GFA sold — in the first- and sample second-tier cities that it tracks remained low, at around eight and six months respectively in December 2016. The low inventory levels reduce the risk of material property price corrections in these cities in the next 6 months.

Furthermore, a significant increase in the new supply of residential houses is not likely in the next 6 months, given that the cumulative national new residential construction starts for full-year 2016 only grew moderately by 8.7% year-on-year after two years of consecutive declines.

Source: Moody’s