Analysis: Property risk reigniting as China economy turns corner
By Kevin Yao and Xiaoyi Shao
BEIJING (Reuters) - Business is booming in Beijing's real estate offices -- good news for property agents like Zhang Huanhuan, but a headache for China's policymakers as worries resurface about the sustainability of investment in the sector.
"We've got off to a flying start in 2013 -- transactions are picking up, so are prices," said Zhang, a saleswoman at an outlet of Maitian Real Estate Agency Co. in the capital.
Recent sales included six high-end apartments at a condominium in Beijing's Dongzhimen area, a neighborhood favored by the city's expatriates, she said.
Government data on Friday is likely to show China's annual economic growth rebounded to 7.8 percent in the fourth-quarter of 2012 from 7.4 percent in the third, snapping seven straight quarters of weaker expansion.
Chinese leaders may by reassured that the economy has finally turned the corner -- even though the recovery is likely to be tepid -- but they face a delicate policy balance amid worrying signs of a renewed property frenzy.
The home buying spree has not been confined to Beijing.
New home prices in 70 major Chinese cities rose 0.3 percent in November from October -- the fourth month in the last five to show a rise -- a modest increase but the most, nonetheless, in 19 months, official data showed.
"The first phase of 44 suites of our project launched last week has almost sold out, with only 6 suites left," said a salesman surnamed Qua, marketing a development by Wharf Holdings 0004.HK in Hang, capital of eastern province of Zhejiang. Continued...