China’s National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) released its monthly report on home sale prices (LINK). The segregation of “15 Hot Cities” in the NBS report implies that they will be the primary focus of government policy:
Intense market restrictions kept prices flat for many months in these key markets, but the average has recently been boosted by a clear rebound in some of the Tier 2 cities (e.g. Zhengzhou, Jinan, Chengdu, and Wuhan) and emerging strength in top markets (Beijing, Hangzhou, and Guangzhou).
Segregating the 10 strongest and weakest of the 70 markets covered by NBS data shows a couple of “Hot Cities” (Xi’an and Jinan) on the gainers list along with policy beneficiaries (Haikou and Dandong) and former laggards (Hohhot etc…) The weakest prices have been in large and formerly hot markets, particularly in the Yangtze River Delta area. Those cities have strong economies, growing populations, and cultural appeal that should sustain long-term housing demand.
Strong economic conditions in 2017 and early 2018 gave the government an opportunity to restrict unhealthy real estate speculation and excessive leverage. A recent softening in the economy and uncertainty resulting from trade tensions have led to a clear shift towards fiscal and monetary easing that has been accompanied in some cities by a relaxation of housing regulations. Analysts expect relatively stronger conditions in leading cities in 2019 and softer conditions in smaller cities (Tier 3&4 markets). Detailed comments from CRIC are available here.