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Pre-owned house sales in Beijing at 23-month high

Updated: 2013-01-04 02:06
By Hu Yuanyuan ( China Daily)

Sales of pre-owned homes in Beijing reached a 23-month high in December, due to shrinking supply and some panic buying.

A total of 17,920 units were sold and registered online last month, a 24 percent increase over the previous month, according to statistics from the Beijing Municipal Commission of Housing and Urban-Rural Development — the highest rise recorded since the government launched measures in February 2011 to curb runaway property prices.

Local agents reported that as well as the unit numbers increasing, prices were also rising.

"We sold out a three-bedroom apartment along Beijing's North Fourth Ring Road three weeks ago, at a price of 4.9 million yuan ($786,000).

"But the selling price of a similar apartment has now increased by more than 100,000 yuan," said Yu Hui, an agent with HomeLink, a real estate brokerage firm, who said demand is outstripping supply in many areas, which is pushing up prices.

Another Beijing property company, Yahao Real Estate Selling and Consulting Solution Agency, said it had around 10 new property projects coming on stream in January, compared with more than 30 in December.

With the pick up in transactions and prices, some buyers reported they were being forced to make extra payments to get themselves further up the waiting lists to buy properties, a clear sign of a market heating up.

However, Zhang Dawei, a marketing director with the Centaline Group, a Hong Kong-based real estate brokerage company, thought it unlikely that prices will continue rising at such a pace.

"With the policy of home purchase restrictions remaining in place and second-home buyers still having to pay higher mortgage rates, a strong rebound in prices is still unlikely."

Zhang Lei, an analyst with Century 21st, added that sales and prices may climb further in 2013, but that the especially strong rebound in December could be exceptional.

The local statistics authority said that from January to November, the transaction volume of residential property sales in Beijing was about 11.79 million square meters, up 52.73 percent year-on-year, a robust growth rate compared to 2011.

According to statistics from the National Bureau of Statistics, in November 53 out of 70 major cities recorded higher new-home prices than a month earlier, up from 35 in October.

Meanwhile, total housing sales surged 9.5 percent year-on-year to 5.35 trillion yuan in the first 11 months, up from a rise of 5.6 percent seen in the January-October period.

Huang Tiantian contributed to this story

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