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Shanghai Sells Residential Land at Record Amid Competition

Shanghai sold a residential plot of land at a record price amid rising competition among developers for sites in cities with fast price gains as some local governments tighten property curbs.

The 96,429-square-meter (1 million-square-foot) site, north of the city, was sold for 1O.1 billion yuan ($1.7 billion) to Franshion Properties China Ltd. today, the official Xinhua News Agency reported. The total price was a record for a residential plot in the city, according to China Real Estate Information Corp., or CRIC, a property data and consulting firm.

“Developers are optimistic about China’s property market because land in core locations of major cities, such as Shanghai, is limited,” said Li Ying, a Shanghai-based land analyst at CRIC, in a phone interview. “Demand and the purchasing power of buyers in Shanghai are still strong.”

Developers are competing for land in cities defined as first tier by the government as new-home prices jump. Prices in Shanghai jumped by 18 percent in December from a year earlier as local property curbs failed to deter buyers.

At least 10 Chinese cities, many of them provincial capitals, have tightened local property policies since November, with the major cities of Shenzhen, Shanghai and Guangzhou all raising minimum down payments for second homes to 70 percent from 60 percent. New-home prices surged 20 percent in Guangzhou and Shenzhen, in the country’s south, in December.

Shares of Franshion, the property unit of state-owned Sinochem Group, were unchanged at HK$2.57 at the close of trading in Hong Kong today. Franshion owns the Jin Mao Tower in Shanghai.

China’s new-home sales last year exceeded $1 trillion for the first time by rising 27 percent from 2012, the statistics bureau data said on Jan. 20.

The Shanghai Stock Exchange Property Index rose 1.3 percent today, while the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index added 0.3 percent.

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