Source: Xinhua

02-19-2009 18:01

Housing prices in China are likely to drop by eight to 10 percent in 2009, with some of the big cities like Beijing and Shanghai likely to see a 15 to 20 percent drop, said a researcher of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS).

Chen Xikang, a researcher at the Academy of Mathematics and Systems Science, CAS, told Xinhua Monday that the estimates are made based on both economic models and observations of the development of China's housing market in the past years.

Chen, also a consultant with the World Bank, originally made the remarks at a forum on China's economy held in Beijing on Sunday.

"Housing prices have far surpassed the actual income of the general public," Chen told Xinhua. "They have come down already since last year."

High housing prices have long been a target of public criticism in China, particularly in large cities.

The Beijing Municipal Statistics Bureau figures showed the average yearly income of Beijing residents stood at around 40,000 yuan ($5,848) in 2007.

The apartments in Beijing, however, were sold at above 10,000 yuan per square meter within "the fifth ring", or the city's downtown areas.

Zhang Qi, a professor at the Institute of Economic and Resources Management in Beijing Normal University, said, "The year 2009 is definitely a hard one for the real estate market."

Zhang said the real estate industry is unlikely to quickly gain prosperity as it did in 1997 and 1998 when the Asian Financial Crisis hit China and the Chinese government provided favorable policies to attract more investment.

"This time, the aim of the government is to guarantee employment and reasonable economic growth," Zhang said, "which leaves the fate of the real estate market largely to the market."

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Editor:Xiong Qu