China November Home Sales Rise to 2-Year High, Defying Curbs

China’s home sales in November rose to the highest monthly value in almost two years even as more local governments announced measures to curb rising prices.

The value of homes sold rose 19 percent to 720.4 billion yuan ($119 billion) last month, the highest since December 2011, from 604.8 billion yuan in October, according to the difference between the National Bureau of Statistics data for the first 11 months and first 10. Housing sales in the January-November period surged 31 percent from a year earlier to 5.9 trillion yuan, according to the data.

“The data surprised the market and showed that housing demand in China is still very strong,” said Dai Fang, a Shanghai-based property analyst at Zheshang Securities Co. “Raising the minimum down payment is not working effectively.” Dai added that more buyers in Shanghai chose to pay all cash to buy homes.

While Premier Li Keqiang hasn’t imposed any nationwide additional measures to rein in property prices since his predecessor Wen Jiabao stepped up a three-year campaign in March, about 13 Chinese cities have tightened their property policies in the past month. Three of China’s four major cities - - Shenzhen, Shanghai and Guangzhou -- raised minimum down-payment requirements for second-home mortgages to 70 percent from 60 percent.

The Shanghai Stock Exchange Property Index, which tracks 24 developers traded in the city, rose 0.9 percent at the close of trading, while the benchmark closed little changed.

Home Prices

China’s new home prices rose in November by the most this year, gaining 10.99 percent to 10,758 yuan per square meter (10.76 square feet) from a year earlier, according to SouFun Holdings Ltd., the nation’s biggest real estate website owner.

Investment in homes, office buildings, malls and other real estate gained 20 percent to 7.7 trillion yuan in the first 11 months from a year earlier, according to the statistics bureau data. New property construction rose 12 percent to 1.8 billion square meters (19 billion square feet).

The government data is at odds with private data, which showed some cooling of the market. November sales of China Vanke Co., the country’s biggest developer, fell by 20 percent from October to 14 billion yuan, while Poly Real Estate Group Co., the second-biggest, reported a 14 percent drop of sales to 10.4 billion yuan last month from October.

Home sales volume rose 21 percent in the 11 months through November to 989 million square meters from the same period a year earlier, the government data showed today. Property sales value including office buildings and retail space climbed 31 percent to 7 trillion yuan from a year ago.

— With assistance by Bonnie Cao

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