Shanghai's housing market cools among low sentiment

Shanghai's existing home market suffered a notable retreat last month as sentiment among buyers fell as expected during the traditional festive season.

Shanghai's existing home market suffered a notable retreat last month as sentiment among buyers fell as expected during the traditional festive season.

Citywide, some 7,190 pre-occupied homes changed hands in February, a drop of 39 percent from January and a decrease of 29.4 percent from same period a year ago, Shanghai Existing House Index Office said in a report released today.

By area, sales of pre-owned homes dived 39.7 percent month on month and 21.9 percent year on year, the office's data showed.

"It was the lowest transaction for February since 2012 and the sluggish buying momentum was mainly due to the weeklong Spring Festival holiday rather than anything else," the office said. "On the price side, as our monthly index indicated, the cost of existing homes was generally shedding at a slower pace."

The city's existing housing index, which tracks month-over-month price changes in 130 areas citywide, lost 0.16 percent from January to 3,977 in February. That compared to a 0.32 percent decrease in January.

Prices of pre-owned homes rose in 56 areas, fell in 55 areas, and were flat in 19 areas, according to the office.

Around the city, Nanqiao New Town in Fengxian, Shibo and Sanlin, both in Pudong New Area, were the top three areas where 175, 165 and 160 pre-used homes were sold respectively last month.

By price, about 60 percent of the pre-used homes sold last month cost no more than 3 million yuan (US$472,359) while nearly 25 percent of them fell in the range of between 3 million yuan and 5 million yuan, the office's data showed.

On the inventory side, some 117,693 pre-occupied homes were available for sale around the city as of the end of February, a month-over-month decrease of 2.64 percent, and a year-over-year decline of 30.5 percent, according to data compiled by the office.

"Market sentiment seemed continuously stable despite the rather significant drop in February," said Lu Wenxi, senior manager of research at Shanghai Centaline Property Consultants Co, a major realty chain in the city. 

"Most individual owners still maintained their asking prices while some others even began to raise the price a little bit amid an anticipated recovery in March, which usually sees a pickup in transaction following weakness in the first two months of the year," said Lu said.


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