SHANGHAI’S eighth annual spring housing exhibition attracted more developers and home buyers compared to similar shows in the second half of last year as the parties wanted to feel the market pulse after more than half a year of stagnation.
Apartments at an average price of less than 10,000 yuan (US$1,250) per square meter accounted for the majority of the exhibits at the eighth Spring Real Estate Exhibition, which began yesterday and will end on Sunday. It is also the city’s first real estate show for the year.
Developers said they have received signals from the National People’s Congress, which ended earlier this week, that the central government will continue encouraging development of budget homes this year and may unveil further incentives to help more low-income families afford an apartment. “We paid particular attention to this year’s NPC as a slew of regulatory measures last year was issued immediately after a lot of delegates urged action to curb the overheated housing market during the meeting,” said Pan Shiyi, president of Soho China, one of the major developers.
Shanghai’s housing prices and transactions have been deflating since last June, when new taxes aimed at speculators halted a six-year boom during which prices almost tripled. Some developers launched projects without informing customers of the prices as they wanted to gauge buyers’ interest before deciding the prices. China Overseas Property, a developer of a project near the Middle-Ring Road, said it has not firmed up the price when it was promoting the development at the show.
If the project receives a lot of inquires during the show, the developer will set a high price, industry insiders said. Customers find that prices of most projects in the peripheral areas have dropped, but they are still too high for locations in the inner city. Li Zhiwei, a 54-year-old local resident, is now living in a 70-square-meter apartment in the Xujiahui area with his wife and daughter. “It’s impossible for us to afford a larger apartment in the same location we are living now,” he moaned.
He said he may buy an apartment in the Beicai area in Pudong New Area, which is more than 10 kilometers from People’s Square. The apartment costs about 6,000 yuan a square meter.