All’s not well in China’s toppy property sector

By BLOOMBERG

SHANGHAI • Home buyers angry that apartments are being sold for much less than they paid swamped property developers’ marketing offices across China over the Golden Week holiday, demanding their money back.

A sales centre for Xinzhou Mansion, a project of Country Garden Holdings Co Ltd located in Shangrao, was mobbed last Thursday, videos and pictures circulated on social media show, its windows smashed by scores of protesters throwing rocks. They’re furious that Country Garden is selling units for prices around 30% lower than a year ago.

At Zhangzhou, people protested outside the offices of a Ronshine China Holdings Ltd project, waving banners that called the firm an “unscrupulous developer”.

China’s Golden Week is typically a buoyant period for new-home sales as holiday makers get out and spend. But transactions this year were the lowest since at least 2014, according to China Securities Co Ltd, with much of the weakness felt in third-tier cities. Official home-sales data for October is due next week.

The unrest is a further sign that China’s toppy property market is beginning to cool. Firms in the nation are already offering free luxury cars and hefty reductions to shift stock.

The sector faces a record US$23 billion (RM95.68 billion) maturity wall in the first quarter of 2019 and Beijing’s attempts to keep a lid on home prices have made it harder for companies to generate swift cash from sales.