Ren Zhiqiang, the outspoken property magnate who criticised the government earlier this month for manipulating the property market, allegedly met this morning with Hu Deping, a vice minister in charge of housing reform.
Also with him was Pan Shiyi, the chairman of the Soho property group. Pan mentioned, on Twitter, that the pair had briefed Hu, who is Hu Yaobang’s son, about the property market. "I met this morning with Ren Zhiqiang and a leader to give a briefing on real estate," wrote Pan. "The leader was very down-to-earth. After Ren finished, he said he only understood half of what he said."
Ren contends that the government has only achieved the seeming fall in property prices in Beijing by deliberately withholding luxury properties from the market, resulting in a fall in the average price. The authorities can do this by refusing to give sales permits to top developments.
Meanwhile, however, new statistics from bjfdc.gov.cn suggested that the number of sales is also cooling in Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen. Shanghai Securities News reported that in Beijing there were 3,357 sales in May, a near 70% fall from April. A similar fall occurred in Shanghai and in the south.
That would suggest that there is a cooling overall in the property market, and that the government’s move to curb loans and raise minimum mortgage rates is working.
Let’s hope so. In today’s FT, Li Daokui, a professor at Tsinghua University and a member of the Chinese central bank’s monetary policy team, says the property bubble in China is a "much bigger" problem than it was in the US or the UK before the financial crisis.