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China’s real estate investment up 6.9% in 2016

Updated: Jan 20,2017 11:00 AM     Xinhua

BEIJING — China’s investment in property development gained steam in 2016, as investors continued to start new projects amid surging house prices, official data showed on Jan 20.

Investment in real estate development grew 6.9 percent year on year in 2016, 1.1 percentage points faster than in the first three quarters, and 5.9 percentage points faster than a year earlier, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

Factoring in price changes, property investment increased 7.5 percent year on year, the NBS said.

For residential properties, investment rose 6.4 percent year on year, and the floor space of new residential construction expanded 8.7 percent year on year.

Housing sales maintained steady growth. In terms of floor area, property sales jumped 22.5 percent, while in terms of value, sales rose 34.8 percent.

By the end of December, 695.4 million square meters of property remained unsold in China, down 3.2 percent year on year.

China’s property market has become increasingly diversified, with major cities reporting record prices and smaller cities struggling to reduce inventory.

The split picture means the government must strike a balance between curbing asset bubbles in big cities and boosting sales in smaller cities.

The Chinese government has been trying to wean the economy off sizzling property development to make it more sustainable.

The Central Economic Work Conference at the end of last year set the tone for the real estate market in 2017: stable and healthy development.

“Houses are built to be lived in, not for speculation,” said a statement issued after the conference.

The country will establish a market-oriented long-term mechanism that can curb real estate bubbles and prevent erratic fluctuations. The government will use land, investment, lawmaking, fiscal policy and financial instruments to achieve its aim, according to the statement.