China Home Sales Rise as Property Market Stabilizes Amid Easing

China’s home sales rose for the first time this year in April after interest-rate cuts and a reversal in property curbs boosted demand.

New-home sales jumped 16 percent to 485.4 billion yuan ($78.2 billion) last month from a year earlier, according to Bloomberg calculations based on data the National Bureau of Statistics released Wednesday.

The 4.8 percent decline in the sales volume in the January-to-April period narrowed from 9.2 percent in the first quarter, showing “signs of a recovery” as developers added more supply after stimulus measures, according to a statement on the bureau’s website.

The central bank lowered the minimum down payment for some homebuyers on March 30, adding to interest-rate cuts and a tax reduction as it stepped up support for an industry that has weighed on economic growth. A year-on-year increase in national property sales would signal “a potential bottoming-out in the property market,” Hong Kong-based Barclays Plc analyst Alvin Wong wrote in a May 4 report.

The property market is “just stabilizing,” said Yang Zhao, Hong Kong-based chief China economist at Nomura Holdings Inc. “Property investment data in April was very poor. New starts and land purchases were all showing big declines.”

Property development investment growth was 6 percent in the first four months of this year, 2.5 percentage points lower than the pace in the first quarter, according to Wednesday’s data. Developers bought 33 percent less land in the period, and their new construction starts slumped 17 percent.

“Can home sales keep rising like they did before after the pent-up demand is unleashed?” Zhao said. “I feel not very likely.”

Homes sales fell 4.4 percent in April from March after deducting the January-March figures from the January-April figures.

— With assistance by Dingmin Zhang

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