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Analysts say local steps will stabilize housing market

By WANG YING in Shanghai | China Daily | Updated: 2022-05-06 06:56

A property construction site in Chengdu, Sichuan province. [Photo/Xinhua]

In the property sector, more measures to stabilize the market are likely at the local government level, industry analysts said on Thursday.

If recent meetings of the regulators are any indication, the authorities concerned will likely seek to maintain the property market's stable and orderly development by assuring homebuyers that demand will remain firm, they said.

Typically, statements made after important meetings convey the mind of the central leadership, represented by the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee.

After the Political Bureau's meeting on April 29, the People's Bank of China, the country's central bank, the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission and the China Securities Regulatory Commission have all expressed their support for ensuring that demand in the property market will remain firm.

The PBOC underlined cautious financial management, optimized credit policies and prudential financing in the real estate sector.

"The central bank's stress on cautious financial management has two meanings: to ease credit lines a bit if the market plummets; and to tighten them if home prices surge. The goal is to ensure the housing market performs stably and in a healthy manner in the medium to long term," said Li Yujia, chief researcher at the provincial residential policy research center of Guangdong province.

The CBIRC said it has asked commercial banks and insurers to ensure that the principle of "housing is for living in, not for speculation" is strictly followed, first-time homebuyers and demand for an improved living are supported, and personal mortgage repayment schedules are flexibly adjusted for people affected by COVID-19.

While highlighting support for rational homebuying demand, the CBIRC for the first time distinguished project risks from company risks, indicating that it is keen to minimize risks through market-oriented and lawful solutions, said Li.

The CSRC said it will actively support real estate enterprises' reasonable financing demand and expand the real estate investment trusts or REITs, which are currently undergoing trials, to infrastructure projects.

"The central bank and financial regulators' statements on the property sector have adhered to the meeting's spirit, and they have shown the government departments concerned are continuously promoting the real estate market's stability via financial means," said Yan Yuejin, director of Shanghai-based E-house China Research and Development Institution.

"They have systematically and thoroughly summed up various financial requirements related to property, so we can expect better advancement of financial policies in the real estate market this month onward," Yan said.

More than 85 cities have eased their regulations on the housing market as of April 29. Their measures include eased restrictions on purchases, raised loan limits, eased sales curbs, lower down payment amounts, and cuts to home loan interest rates, all lending support for provident fund loans and more, data from the Zhuge Real Estate Data Research Center showed.

"Since the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee meeting called for more refined real estate market policies, we believe more cities will follow suit in a bid to encourage rational homebuying demand and boost market confidence," said Wang Xiaoqiang, chief analyst with the Zhuge Real Estate Data Research Center.

The meeting stressed efforts to ensure that no systemic risks emerge and reiterated the principle that "housing is for living in, not for speculation." Efforts should be made to improve real estate policies based on local market dynamics and meet firm demand for quality housing, it said.

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