China's Jan-Feb property sales lowest in three years

China's property sales in the first two months of 2015 fell the most in three years amid a glut of housing supply, even as real estate investment growth eased.

Sales revenue was down 15.8 per cent in the two-month period as against January-February last year, the worst drop since the 2012 fall of 20.9 per cent. The January-February figures were combined for smoothing out the effect of Lunar New Year holidays.

The property sector made up around 15 per cent of China's economic output, with weak property sales pointing to the challenges to meet even the government's lowered 7 per cent growth target.

"GDP growth of 7 per cent means investment activities will drop," Soho China chief executive officer Zhang Xin told a conference last week. "This year will be tougher than 2014." 

Property investment growth was down to 10.4 per cent in the Jan-Feb period, from 10.5 per cent for full-year 2014, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.

Chinese home prices dropped again in February from January. However, the pace of declines slowed indicating a bottoming out, two private surveys showed as Beijing increased stimulus to support the faltering economy.

Meanwhile, China's factory output was up at 6.8 per cent in January and February as against the same period last year, falling short of projections and reinforcing expectations that the growth would come in at its slowest pace in a quarter of a century this year.

Fixed-asset investment, a crucial driver of the world's second-largest economy, increased 13.9 per cent in January and February from a year ago, the National Bureau of Statistics said today.

Economists had expected the figure to be around 15 per cent.

Retail sales increased 10.7 per cent in the first two months of the year, falling short of expectations for a 11.7 per cent rise.

Sluggish growth in factory output added to worries that China's economic growth would slow around 7 per cent this year from 7.4 per cent in 2014, even with stimulus measures.