New home sales plunge

The market was influenced by the four-day May Day holiday, Centaline Property Consultants said in their latest weekly report.

New home sales plunged in Shanghai last week, mainly affected by the four-day May Day break.

The area of new residential properties sold, excluding government-subsidized affordable housing, dived 68.5 percent to about 65,000 square meters in the seven days to Sunday, Shanghai Centaline Property Consultants Co said in their regular Monday report.

"The May Day holiday, which this year lasted one day longer than usual, was probably the main reason behind last week's significant drop in transaction volume," said Lu Wenxi, Centaline's senior research manager. "Moreover, it is typical to see volume drop in the beginning of a month as real estate developers often choose to gear up at the end of a month to boost their monthly performance."

The outer districts of Qingpu and Songjiang registered good sales, although neither exceeded 10,000 square meters.

Citywide, new homes sold for an average of 57,597 yuan (US$8,478) per square meter, a week-on-week increase of 5 percent.

In the top 10 list by sales area, six projects sold for more than 50,000 yuan per square meter — three commanding more than 100,000 yuan per square meter. The rest sold at between 38,000 yuan and 50,000 yuan per square meter.

A project in downtown Xuhui District, with an average price of 128,110 per square meter topped the list, selling 4,244 square meters, or 12 apartments. The other two luxury projects, which took the 4th and 9th spots on the list, unloaded 10 and 4 units.

Despite sluggish buyer sentiment, robust momentum was demonstrated by real estate developers. About 367,000 square meters of new housing over seven projects, all in outer areas, were released into the market last week, a surge of 535.6 percent from a week earlier, Centaline said.

In April, new home sales rose to the highest so far this year, despite a slight retreat in new supply, a separate report by Centaline showed.

Across the city, a total of 786,000 square meters of new houses were sold last month, a rise of 24.4 percent from March and a year-on-year increase of 69.8 percent.

"Strength started to pick up from the beginning of April and the upward trajectory extended through the end of the month," Lu said. "By price, those selling for between 30,000 yuan and 80,000 yuan per square meter were the most popular among home seekers."

The average cost of a new home sold last month was 54,838 yuan per square meter, a month-over-month increase of 1.2 percent.

About 739,000 square meters of new homes were launched into the market in April, a drop of 6.2 percent from March.

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