【英语中国】杭州降价潮背后的中国楼市迷局 Hangzhou exposed to housing headwinds

  • A+
所属分类:双语中国

2014-5-14 15:27

小艾摘要: When New Century Real Estate cut its housing prices by 15 per cent two months ago, the Chinese developer, far from panicking, was in a triumphant mood. It believed the discount was a deft move to get ...
Hangzhou exposed to housing headwinds
When New Century Real Estate cut its housing prices by 15 per cent two months ago, the Chinese developer, far from panicking, was in a triumphant mood. It believed the discount was a deft move to get ahead of the market and sell its unsold backlog of apartments.

Chinese property companies have reduced prices on only the rarest of occasions over the past decade, during which time average property values have more than doubled. New Century calculated that its cut – at the Mingjun residential complex in the eastern city of Hangzhou – would attract a flood of interest. It was right, at first.

The number of people viewing properties quintupled overnight, according to Luo Chengwu, an operations manager.

Yet by the first week of May, the initial excitement had subsided. Other developers around the city of Hangzhou had also lowered their asking prices and New Century’s offer was no longer so unique.

“Yes, we attracted a lot of customers when we made the announcement. But since then, it’s just been OK, not crazy. We’ve not been able to sell everything out,” said a saleswoman in the Mingjun showroom, pointing to the dozens of homes still available in a model of the 14-tower complex.

Mingjun is located on the margins of Hangzhou in its distant suburbs, but its fate is a central concern for the Chinese economy.

For several months it has been clear that housing markets in smaller, less-developed cities were beginning to suffer downturns. However, the government and analysts long believed that bigger, wealthier cities were better insulated from the pressures.

Hangzhou has shaken that belief. Capital of Zhejiang province, it has a population of nearly 9m and is one of China’s richest cities. If its property market is in trouble, it is ominous for the country as a whole.

“Not long ago, some looked at Hangzhou as a top-tier property market. Now, oversupply is apparent even there,” said Du Jinsong, an analyst with Credit Suisse, who has taken investors on tours of the city in recent months to survey its challenges.

In the first four months of the year property sales across the country fell 7.8 per cent in value terms from the same period a year earlier, according to government figures released yesterday. That has already hurt sentiment among property developers, which cut investment in new projects, pushing newly started floor space in China down by 22.1 per cent in the first four months, compared with a year earlier.

Property investment directly accounts for nearly a fifth of Chinese gross domestic product, so if bulging inventories lead to slower construction, as they should, the consequences for economic growth will be unpleasant.

Observers could be forgiven for thinking that China has been here before. The housing market briefly wobbled in 2008 and 2011, only to rebound with great vigour. But on both those occasions the slowdowns occurred because the government had deployed tightening measures to try to rein in runaway prices. This time, it is market forces leading the way. “This downturn is almost entirely because of the oversupply,” Mr Du says.

At the current pace of home sales in Hangzhou, it will take buyers about 25 months to digest the existing supply of property in the city, according to data from China Real Estate Index System. That is well above the average 10-month inventory of recent years.

A similar pattern is playing out across China. The worst laggards are still what are often referred to as third and fourth-tier cities, which have populations of roughly 1m-3m people. Their housing inventories have climbed to more than 30 months’ worth of sales from 25 at the start of 2012, according to UBS.

However, the headwinds are now also reaching China’s biggest cities. Housing sales in the country’s four massive metropolises – Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Guangzhou – fell 20 per cent on average in April from a month earlier, a steeper decline than in most smaller cities.

“The question is no longer if or when, but rather how much China’s structurally oversupplied property market will correct,” Zhang Zhiwei, an economist with Nomura, wrote in a note last week.

In Hangzhou, local media have reported that the municipal government wants to help developers by capping the upfront payments required to buy new land, a move that would ease their cash flow pressures. But it is also a measure that is designed to encourage them to buy more land – a critical source of fiscal revenues for the government – and therefore to build yet more homes.

In the fields next to New Century’s Mingjun complex, Mr Wu, an old man in a straw hat and rolled-up trousers, tends his corn. In spite of New Century’s struggles, he says the land he is working is already zoned for development and it is only a matter of time before bulldozers roll in.

“The government should have limited the land for housing according to the size of the population, but they didn’t,” he said. “They have done lots of zoning. But that’s not the same as planning.”

Additional reporting by Emma Dong

当开元房产(New Century Real Estate)两个月前将楼盘价格下调15%时,这家中国开发商不仅不是在恐慌,还洋洋得意。它相信借助此次打折可以抢占市场先机,卖出积压库存公寓,是精明之举。

过去10年,中国房地产均价上涨一倍有余,在此期间房地产公司极少降价。开元估计,杭州开元名郡楼盘降价将吸引如潮水般的兴趣。他们的估计是对的——只是在一开始。

业务经理骆成武表示,前来看房的人数一夜之间多出4倍。

但到了5月的第一周,最初的兴奋已经褪去。杭州其他开发商也降低要价,开元的优惠不再独一无二。

“确实,在一开始宣布降价的时候,我们吸引了一大批顾客。但后来,情况只是说得过去,算不上疯狂。我们没能售空,”开元名郡展示中心的一位女售楼员表示。她指着由14座塔楼组成的该楼盘的模型,告诉记者仍有数十套未售出。

开元名郡位于杭州市边缘的远郊,但它的命运关系到中国经济的核心担忧。

近几个月的局面十分明显:在发展较为落后的小型城市,房地产市场开始下滑。但政府和分析人士一直认为,较为富裕的大城市能够更好地抵御压力。

但杭州动摇了这种信念。作为浙江省会,它拥有近900万人口,也是中国最富裕的城市之一。如果它的房地产市场出现困难,对整个中国都不是好兆头。

“不久之前,一些人还将杭州视为一线房地产市场。如今,这里的供应过剩也已经十分明显,”瑞信(Credit Suisse)分析师杜劲松表示。杜劲松近几个月曾经带投资者去杭州考察,以评估它面临的挑战。

昨天公布的政府数据显示,今年头4个月全国房地产销售额同比下跌7.8%。这已经伤害到房地产开发商的信心,它们削减新项目投资,导致头4个月全国房屋新开工面积同比下降22.1%。

房地产投资直接占据中国国内生产总值(GDP)的近五分之一,如果库存的膨胀像预料中的那样导致施工放缓,将对经济增长产生不利后果。

可以理解,观察人士会认为,中国以前就有过类似的经历。中国房地产市场曾在2008年和2011年出现短暂低迷,不过低迷过后却是强力反弹。但那两次低迷,都是因为中国政府出台紧缩政策试图抑制房价失控。这次则是市场力量主导的低迷。杜劲松表示:“这次的下滑几乎完全是供应过剩导致的。”

中国房地产指数系统(CREIS)的数据显示,按照当前的住房销售速度,杭州将需要大约25个月才能消化完当前的住房供应。这远远高于近几年平均10个月的库存消化周期。

类似情况正在中国各地上演。最为严重的仍是那些人口大约在100万到300万之间、被称为三四线城市的地区。瑞银(UBS)的数据显示,这些城市的住房库存消化周期从2012年初的25个月,攀升至逾30个月。

然而,如今房地产市场的逆风也刮到了中国的一线城市。今年4月,北京、上海、深圳和广州这四个特大型城市的住房销售环比平均下降20%,远高于大多数较小城市的降幅。

野村证券(Nomura)经济学家张智威上周在一份报告中写道:“现在的问题不再是中国结构性供应过剩的房地产市场是否或者何时进行修正,而是修正力度有多大。”

当地媒体报道称,杭州市政府希望通过设置购地保证金上限来帮助房地产开发商——此举将缓解开发商的现金流压力。但这种举措也旨在鼓励开发商购买更多的土地——卖地是当地政府的一项关键财政收入来源——从而建造更多的房屋。

在开元名郡楼盘附近的田地里,一位头戴草帽、裤管卷起的吴姓老人正在照料地里的庄稼。这位老人说,尽管开元有各种问题和困难,但他正在干活的这块地已经被划定为房地产开发区域,推土机开进地里只是时间问题。

他说:“杭州市政府应该按照人口规模限制住房土地供应,但他们没有。他们圈了许多地,但这和规划可不是一回事。”

董慧(Emma Dong)补充报道

译者/何黎

本文关键字:双语阅读,小艾英语,双语网站,双语中国,实时资讯,互联网新闻,ERWAS,行业解析,创业指导,营销策略,英语学习,可以双语阅读的网站!
  • 我的微信
  • 扫一扫加关注
  • weinxin
  • 微信公众号
  • 扫一扫加关注
  • weinxin

发表评论

:?: :razz: :sad: :evil: :!: :smile: :oops: :grin: :eek: :shock: :???: :cool: :lol: :mad: :twisted: :roll: :wink: :idea: :arrow: :neutral: :cry: :mrgreen: