Photographer: Qilai Shen/Bloomberg

China First-Quarter GDP Expands From 3 Months Earlier on Housing

  • Real-estate industry gains 9.1% and construction rose 7.8%
  • Financial sector growth slowed to 8.1% from 15.9% last year

China’s economy expanded 1.1 percent in the first three months of the year from the last quarter of 2015 as demand for housing helped drive growth.

Gains by China’s real-estate brokers helped offset softening in financial services in the period, as the economy stabilized on support from new credit and property sales, according to figures on the National Bureau of Statistics website Saturday.

The output of real-estate services jumped 9.1 percent from a year earlier in the first three months and construction activities rose 7.8 percent, the National Bureau of Statistics said Saturday. Other services, including industries such as technology, health and education, increased 8.7 percent.

The property rebound has sustained the world’s second-largest economy as sales jumped and investment picked up. Whether debt-fueled growth can be sustained remains to be seen, as an inventory overhang will weigh demand for housing in smaller cities.

China is making a transition toward a more services-led growth model away from heavy industry and exports. Services, also known as the tertiary sector, expanded 7.6 percent in the first quarter from a year earlier. That outpaced the the broader economy’s 6.7 percent growth in the first three months of 2016.

The financial sector rose 8.1 percent in the first quarter, compared with a jump of 15.9 percent a year earlier, amid the stock market boom and subsequent bust.

— With assistance by Xiaoqing Pi, and Tian Ying

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