Is China’s property at a turning point?

The property sector could be at a turning point based on some recent signals, ahead of today’s property price index reading at 9:30am (SGT).

China flags at a store
Source: Bloomberg

While real estate investment growth has slowed down in the first 10 months of 2014, we have been seeing property sales showing some signs of improvement.

This is good news for the rest of the economy as the property sector affects more than 40 other industries, from construction to furniture.

According to data released earlier this month, property investment grew at its slowest pace in over five years, just 12.4% from the previous year, and under the 12.5% reading from the previous month.

On the brighter side, property sales for October eased just 1.6%, an improvement from the 10.3% dip in the previous month.

This makes the latest housing price index reading one-to-watch, with the latest print showing that a drop in new home prices spread further to a record 69 out of 70 cities, up from 68 out of 70 cities.

That print showed that September’s price index declined by 1.3%, a break into negative territory for the first time in nearly two years. The Index had been hovering around a reading of 10% in January before drifting to just 0.5% in August.

Will we see prices finally bottom out and consumer confidence return to the market? This could happen if the central bank’s recent efforts come into fruition.

It had eased mortgage lending restrictions in September for the first time since the financial crisis. This means people can apply for a mortgage for a second home and enjoy a lower-down payment requirement.

Any bounce in the price index today could prompt some optimism in the property stocks such as China Evergrande, Vanke, and China Overseas Land.

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