IMF expects new housing demand in China to drop by around 50% in the next decade

Photo by Ricardo Gomez Angel on Unsplash
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Demand for new housing in China is set to drop by around 50% over the next decade, making it harder for Beijing to quickly bolster the country’s overall growth.

That’s according to the International Monetary Fund’s latest staff report on China, completed in late December and released Friday.

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The IMF said it expects “fundamental demand for new housing” in China to fall 35% to 55% due to a decline in new urban households and a large inventory of unfinished or vacant properties.

Slowing demand for new housing will make it more difficult to absorb excess inventory, “prolonging the adjustment into the medium term and weighing on growth,” the report said.

China’s real estate sector and related industries have accounted for about a quarter of the country’s gross domestic product. The latest property market slump follows Beijing’s crackdown in 2020 on developers’ high reliance on debt for growth.

The last three years have also seen highly indebted developers from Evergrande to Country Garden default on U.S. dollar-denominated debt held by overseas investors. This week, a Hong Kong court ordered Evergrande to liquidate.

Since late 2022, Chinese authorities have taken steps to ease financing restrictions for developers and new homebuyers. However, central and local government efforts to support real estate have not yet significantly stalled a broader decline in the sector.