April 17, 2020 / 2:25 AM / a month ago

China's January-March property investment down 7.7% from a year earlier

FILE PHOTO: A man walks near a construction site in Beijing's central business area, China January 17, 2020. REUTERS/Jason Lee/File Photo

BEIJING (Reuters) - Real estate investment in China fell 7.7% in the first three months of 2020 from a year earlier, official data showed on Friday.

The property market, a key growth driver, was among many segments of the Chinese economy impacted by the coronavirus epidemic that emerged in the country in late 2019 and brought the country to a near-standstill for weeks.

Real estate investment declined by a record 16.3% in the first two months of 2020.

Property sales by floor area fell 26.3% from a year earlier in the first three months of 2020, according to data released by the National Bureau of Statistics. It declined 39.9% in the first two months of the year, according to Reuters calculations based on the official data.

New construction starts measured by floor area fell 27.2% from a year earlier following a 44.9% drop in the January-February period.

Funds raised by China’s property developers fell 13.8% in the same period, compared with a 17.5% drop for January-February 2020.

The statistics bureau releases a combined January-February investment data to account for seasonal distortions caused by the Lunar New Year holidays.

Reporting by Yawen Chen and Se Young Lee; Editing by Christian Schmollinger

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