China’s land sales plunged in Jan-Feb though easing measures

BEIJING : China’s land sales revenue slumped from a year earlier, official data for January-February showed on Friday, pointing to continued weakness in the country’s huge property market, a major economic growth driver.

The country’s government land sales revenue fell 29.5per cent on year to 792.2 billion yuan ($124.52 billion) in the first two months of 2022 after a 2.16per cent increase in December, largely smaller than 1.1236 trillion in the same period in 2021.

China’s property sector has slumped for months as Beijing’s campaign to reduce high debt levels triggered a liquidity crisis at some major property developers, resulting in bond defaults and projects being shelved or left unfinished.

Authorities have put in place a string of easing steps to ease a liquidity crunch in major property developers and revive buying interest, including smaller downpayments and reductions in mortgage rates.

The looser regulations have yet to drive a nationwide rebound. New home prices stalled in February after eking out a small gain a month earlier, official data on Wednesday showed.

The year-on-year decline in property sales and new construction starts measured by floor space were in two digits in January-February, according to the data from the National Bureau of Statistics.

Later on Wednesday, state-run Xinhua news agency reported China was putting a planned property tax trial this year on ice, citing the finance ministry, suggesting authorities are moving cautiously to refrain from further hurting the interest in the sector.

Chinese Vice Premier Liu He on Wednesday urged the roll-out of market-friendly policies to support the economy, and vowed to tackle the risks in the property sector.

($1 = 6.3620 Chinese yuan renminbi)

(Reporting by Liangping Gao and Ryan Woo; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

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