(Bloomberg) -- China home prices fell the most in eight years in October, signaling the property slump is worsening even after the government ramped up efforts to revive demand.
New-home prices in 70 cities, excluding state-subsidized housing, declined 0.38% last month from September, when they dropped 0.3%, National Bureau of Statistics figures showed Thursday. The decrease was the steepest since February 2015.
The drop adds to evidence of a persistent housing downturn after official figures this week showed a contraction in sales and property investment deepened. Fresh stimulus measures rolled out at major cities since August have done little to turn around the sector, which is dragging on China’s economic recovery.
Only tier-2 cities, mostly provincial capitals, saw a narrower price decline amid looser homebuying restrictions. Prices slid 0.35% in tier-1 cities, sharply deteriorating from a 0.05% decrease a month earlier.
A brief housing market rebound earlier this year after China’s post-Covid reopening “turned out to be short-lived,” said Chen Wenjing, associate research director at China Index Holdings. “Homebuyers are deterred by squeezed incomes and the uncertain property market outlook.”
The second-hand market didn’t fare any better, with prices tumbling 0.58%, the most since October 2014.
A Bloomberg Intelligence gauge of Chinese property developers fell as much as 1.4% on Thursday morning, extending this year’s decline to 43%.
In the latest move to support the real estate sector, Beijing is planning to provide at least 1 trillion yuan ($138 billion) of low-cost financing to urban village renovation and affordable housing programs, Bloomberg News reported this week. While details of the new plan remain unclear, some economists say it may be less effective than earlier efforts. The new programs would mostly take place in some of the largest metropolitan areas, outside the low-tier cities where the slump is most severe.
China’s property crisis has engulfed almost all of the largest developers, which have been struggling to repay debts and complete projects since a credit crunch emerged three years ago. China Vanke Co., one of the country’s few remaining investment-grade builders, saw its dollar bonds plunge in recent weeks on the heels of industry giant Country Garden Holdings Co.’s default. Vanke later received an unusually strong show of support from the local government.
“Property remains the biggest drag amid the rising credit risk among developers,” Larry Hu, head of China economics at Macquarie Group Ltd., wrote in a note this week.
(Updates with breakdown in the fourth paragraph and developer shares in the seventh.)
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