Home-buying momentum slows in latest week

Cao Qian
Property sales in Shanghai were down nearly 30 percent, with nearly all districts recording downturns. Average price, however, was lifted by strong results in Huangpu.
Cao Qian

Sentiment among home buyers retreated in Shanghai last week from an over two-month high as real estate developers chose to sit on the sidelines again, the latest market data show.

The total area of new residential properties sold, excluding government-funded affordable housing, dropped 29.3 percent week over week to around 88,000 square meters during the seven-day period ending Sunday, Shanghai Centaline Property Consultants Co said in a weekly report released on Tuesday.

Almost all districts, particularly outlying ones which had previously been the dominant force in the market, suffered major setbacks. Jiading District, for example, plunged below the 8,000-square-meter mark, from some 22,000 square meters sold a week earlier. The Nanhui region of the Pudong New Area, the No.2 location by transaction volume in the previous seven-day period, saw its sales drop by 35.7 percent to around 9,200 square meters. Bucking the trend was downtown Huangpu District, which shot to first place after unloading some 11,000 square meters of new homes, pushing therefore the average price to a year-to-date high.

New homes in Shanghai sold for an average 64,404 yuan (US$9,082) per square meter, a week-over-week increase of 17.5 percent, according to Centaline data.

"Last week's decline was not unexpected actually, for it's pretty normal to see a withdrawal at the beginning of a month while the just-finished three-day Qingming Festival holiday also kept home seekers away," said Lu Wenxi, Centaline's senior researcher. "Notably, a luxury residential project managed to register quite robust sales, sending a positive signal that the market was still recovering, despite at a rather slow pace."

A Greenland project in Dongjiadu, Huangpu District, sold 9,222 square meters, or 52 units, for an average price of 143,304 yuan per square meter, dwarfing all others around the city. It was also the only one in the top 10 list that managed to register weekly sales of over 3,000 square meters.

By price point, three of the 10 bestselling projects stood above the 100,000-yuan-per-square-meter barrier, and four developments sold for less than 40,000 yuan per square meter.

Not a single new-home unit came into the local market last week, compared with 43,000 square meters launched during the previous week, which were the only new supply in over two months' time, according to Centaline data. 

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