(Bloomberg) -- China Vanke Co., at one time the largest listed developer in the country, suffered another slump last month, joining other real estate firms with declining home sales.

Contracted sales for March were 24.5 billion yuan ($3.4 billion), the company said in a filing Wednesday. That represents a 43% decline from a year earlier, and follows a 53% year-on-year plunge the previous month.

China’s battered property sector is showing few signs of a turnaround. Private data showed March’s home sales extended a steep decline and agencies don’t expect a notable recovery this month. Property investment slumped 9% in the first two months of the year, more than expected.

Vanke last month reported that net profit tumbled 46% for 2023, the biggest drop since its 1991 listing. Fitch Ratings downgraded Vanke’s credit rating to junk, joining Moody’s Ratings that cut the builder to below investment grade and warned of further reductions.

Read more: China Home Sales Drought Persists With Little Recovery Sign 

JPMorgan Chase & Co. meanwhile downgraded Vanke’s shares to underweight from neutral this week, while slashing its price target by more than 25%. While JPMorgan believes Vanke will avoid default due to strong support from authorities, “until more solid evidence of liquidity easing, we think the share prices will remain under pressure.”

Homebuyers in China are avoiding defaulted developers on concerns about their ability to complete housing projects, including Country Garden Holdings Co. Its closest rival, China Evergrande Group, was ordered to liquidate in January. 

 

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