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China housing sales slow in 2018

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From Dominique Fong: BEIJING–Housing sales growth in China slowed slightly last year, and many economists project the downturn to deepen this year.

For the full year of 2018, housing sales by value rose 14.7% from a year earlier, according to data released by the National Bureau of Statistics on Monday. That compared with a 14.8% gain in the first 11 months of 2018.

In December alone, housing sales rose 13.6% from a year earlier, compared with a 13.3% gain in November.

Economists say China’s property market growth momentum may slow this year as household savings decline and household leverage is much higher in smaller cities. A government cash subsidy program that had propped up prices in those smaller cities is also set to downsize, withdrawing support from the real estate market.

Additionally, while individual cities have some discretion to loosen property-buying control policies, economists don’t expect country-wide easing or credit stimulus to boost slackening growth as in previous property downturns because of concerns around another rapid debt build-up and out-of-control home prices.

Property investment, including commercial and residential real estate, rose 9.5% in 2018 to 12 trillion yuan, compared with a 9.7% increase for the first 11 months of the year.

Construction starts rose 17.2% from a year earlier in 2018, compared with 16.8% expansion in the year through November.

The Invesco China Real Estate ETF (TAO) closed at $25.72 on Friday, up $0.40 (+1.58%). Year-to-date, TAO has declined -10.32%, versus a 0.25% rise in the benchmark S&P 500 index during the same period.

TAO currently has an ETF Daily News SMART Grade of B (Buy), and is ranked #4 of 38 ETFs in the China Equities ETFs category.

This article is brought to you courtesy of MarketWatch.

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