Category Archives: Real Estate

GBA property in 2019: Zhuhai, Shenzhen lead surge

The Greater Bay Area’s property market was generally stable last year, with two exceptions: Shenzhen and Zhuhai, where transaction growth was hot. 

According to local media, which reported on an analysis of official data by Penguin Financial, an investment adviser, Shenzhen was the beneficiary of policymaking in Beijing. The city’s designation as a Pioneering Zone for Socialism with Chinese Characteristics boosted market sentiment, resulting in new residential floorspace of 4.5 million sqm, up nearly 25%, while 37,846 homes were sold, up nearly 27.4%.

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Tale of two cities’ housing markets

The contrast between Hong Kong and Shenzhen could not be starker than in their respective plans for subsidized, or social, housing. While Shenzhen is targeting a surge over the coming two years, putting as many as 300,000 units on the market, Hong Kong has announced it will likely be able to build no more than 13,400 units in the current year, well down from its initial target of just 18,000 for the fiscal period ending in March.

Shenzhen plans to sell 600,000 new homes between now and 2022, of which rental units will be no less than 300,000, it was announced this week. This is part of the city’s bigger urban development plan, unveiled in August last year, which will see 1.7 million new houses built by 2035, with more than 1 million being subsidized.

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Shenzhen moves to dampen housing rebound

Shenzhen’s Housing and Construction Bureau has acted to dampen speculation in the city’s housing market, targeting WeChat users who had been allegedly trying to engage in “collective pricing” actions.

The bureau said that anyone who was found to have engaged in such speculation would see their secondary housing online signing procedures suspended.

Estates in the spotlight were named as Shenzhen Hengyubin City, Zhongliang Fenghuangli Garden, and a few others.

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Shenzhen eases property curbs

For a city that professes its priority is affordable housing, Shenzhen appears to be taking counterintuitive steps to bolster its property market by relaxing restrictions that were imposed only a year ago.

The most recent is a decision by the city government to lift a measure that had been intended to cool the market for commercial apartments – homes built within mixed-use developments primarily catering to office and shop tenants.

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Foshan eases home-buying curbs

Foshan has eased its restrictive policies on home-buying. Since Friday last week, first-time home-buyers who work in Foshan and hold a bachelor degree or above, will no longer be required to submit a pile of local documents such as tax receipts, social security payment proof, etc, in order to register for buying an apartment in the city. 

In other words: anyone already employed in Foshan, with a university degree, is welcome to buy a home, anywhere in the city.

Other major cities in China are experimenting with the new policy, such as Chengdu, Shanghai, and Nanjing, but only in selected districts, not the entire city. Sanya, in Hainan, has also adopted the reform.

According to a local official quoted by media, there are “quite a few” residents who meet the new threshold, and it is expected to stimulate the market. 

Read more (in Chinese).

Baishizhou: a tale of Shenzhen’s housing challenge

Shenzhen’s housing policies have been the focus of intense online discussion in recent months, with many commentators and analysts comparing them to Hong Kong’s. The city’s plans to build 1.7 million new homes by 2035, at a rate of more than 80,000 per year, are unthinkable for Hong Kong, where the government has said it hopes to build 10,000 new social-housing units in the next three years. Moreover, Shenzhen has made it clear that 40% of its housing supply will be earmarked for subsidized housing – in comparison with its neighbor, where 29.1% of households live in public rental housing and another 15.5% in subsidized home ownership housing.

However, Shenzhen is not without challenges of its own in achieving these goals. And sometimes, examples come to light showing the complexity of the city’s housing market. One such case is the redevelopment of the Baishizhou neighborhood.

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Zhuhai pushes hukou reforms

Zhuhai is pioneering a change in the way cities treat their migrant workers. People living in the municipality without a formal household registration (hukou) are now able to apply for various types of housing previously restricted to hukou-holders.

A public consultation draft has been issued on the city government’s website, which deletes the old category of “migrant workers” and incorporates it into a new category of “newly employed workers.” At the same time, the draft expands the coverage of its public-housing rental policy to “talents”, while dropping their effective rates from 50% of a project’s benchmark rent to 30% – an effective 40% rent cut. 

Whether other cities follow suit remains to be seen. Stay tuned.

Read more (in Chinese).

Jiangmen beckons with easier housing rules

At least 30 cities across the country have recently loosened their restrictions on non-official residents buying into the local property market. Jiangmen is among them, according to local media.

As Bloomberg reports, the slowest economic growth in 30 years is prompting some city governments to loosen up and allow people living in their jurisdictions without a local residency permit (a hukou) to buy a home.

Jiangmen, the city on the far western side of the Greater Bay, next door to Zhuhai and Zhongshan, has gone a couple of steps further. According to the city’s Housing and Construction Bureau, it wants to support “all kinds of innovative entrepreneurs to live and work in Jiangmen, attract business and investment, and integrate into the Greater Bay Area”.

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