China home sales surge 71% in March on government measures

Buildings of a residential compound are seen in Shanghai, China, on March 17, 2016.
Buildings of a residential compound are seen in Shanghai, China, on March 17, 2016.PHOTO: REUTERS

SHANGHAI (BLOOMBERG) - China's home sales jumped 71 per cent in March from a year earlier, while investment in real estate development continued to climb, a sign that authorities' efforts to bolster the industry are bearing fruit.

The value of homes sold climbed to 869.8 billion yuan (S$182.54 billion) in March, according to Bloomberg calculations based on statistics bureau data released on Friday (April 15). It the biggest monthy year-on-year increase since at least 2015. Investment in real estate development surged 6.2 per cent in the first quarter from a year earlier, extending the increase from the first two months when it reversed a two-year falling streak to gain 3 per cent.

China has lowered benchmark interest rates six times since November 2014 and eased down-payment rules for both first homes and second residences, to revive real estate investments dragging the economic growth. UBS estimates that real-estate, including goods such as electric machinery, chemicals and metals used in construction, accounts for more than a quarter of final demand in the economy.

The value of home sales rose 17 per cent in March from the January-February period, where a combined 743.5 billion yuan of sales were delivered, according to Bloomberg calculations based on the data. The value of property sales including office buildings and retail space expanded by 54.1 per cent to 1.9 trillion yuan from a year ago, the data showed.