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India Skyscraper Boom May Signal Bubble, Barclays Says

India Skyscraper Boom May Signal Building Bubble
Buildings rise into the Mumbai skyline. Photographer: Pal Pillai/Bloomberg

Jan. 11 (Bloomberg) -- India, which is building the world’s second-tallest skyscraper, is catching up with China in an office building boom that may indicate that an economic slowdown is imminent, according to Barclays Capital Research.

India is scheduled to complete 14 new skyscrapers taller than 240 meters (787 feet) over the next five years from the current two, Barclays’s analysts led by Andrew Lawrence said in a report yesterday. China will increase the number of skyscrapers to 141, from the current 75, by 2017, according to the bank’s annual Skyscraper Index report.

Over the past 140 years, completion of the tallest buildings has coincided with periods of economic turmoil such as the Great Depression, the Asian financial contagion and the global credit crisis, Barclays said. China is home to 53 percent of all skyscrapers being built around the world, up from 44 percent a year earlier, according to Barclays.

“India, it seems, is playing catch-up,” the Barclays analysts, based in Hong Kong, wrote. “If history proves to be right, this building boom in China and India could simply be a reflection of a misallocation of capital, which may result in an economic correction in the next five years.”

The 720-meter India Tower will be the world’s second-tallest skyscraper when work on the building finishes, overtaking the 632-meter Shanghai Tower that is scheduled for completion in 2014, according to the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat. Dubai’s 828-meter Burj Khalifa is the world’s tallest building.

Inland Skyscrapers

India, Asia’s third-largest economy, expanded 6.9 percent in the third quarter from a year earlier, the smallest advance in more than two years, government data on Nov. 30 showed.

More than half of China’s skyscrapers will be built inland and away from the wealthier coastal areas and Pearl River Delta region by 2017, indicating a move toward second-tier and third-tier cities, according to the Barclays report.

China’s home prices fell for a fourth month in December after the government reiterated plans to maintain curbs that include higher down-payment and mortgage requirements, according to SouFun Holdings Ltd. Housing values dropped in 60 out of 100 cities tracked by the nation’s biggest real-estate website owner, including the 10 largest cities such as Shanghai and Beijing.

The government said last month at an annual economic planning meeting that it won’t back away from real-estate industry curbs this year that are damping home sales and pulling down prices. The nation’s financial center of Shanghai and some other Chinese cities have also said they will continue to impose the home purchase restrictions this year.

To contact the reporter on this story: Kelvin Wong in Hong Kong at kwong40@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andreea Papuc at apapuc1@bloomberg.net

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