Property firm SOHO China has said its investment in property next year will top the RMB8.8 billion ($1.29 billion) it will spend in 2008, as slumping prices provide buying opportunities.
Beijing was worried about a real estate bubble only a year ago when it clamped down on speculative buying. It reversed direction in October with cuts in property transaction taxes, mortgage rates and down payments.
SOHO China has built a RMB10 billion cash stockpile and a low debt/equity ratio of 27%, giving Chairman Pan Shiyi and his wife Zhang Xin, who is also his business partner, the room to take on more debt to make further purchases.
Pan said, ‘When things hit bottom, and we think next year it will, we have to be busy buying property. This is a great opportunity to expand. This is a fall in prices that no one could have dreamed about.’
SOHO is looking to expand beyond its almost exclusive focus on the Beijing market, aiming to include Shanghai in its portfolio.
Pan Shiyi said, ‘The demand in Beijing and Shanghai is better than other cities. We are looking at the best areas of those two cities.’
Pan Shiyi said SOHO would reverse the RMB145.8 million net loss in the first half of this year to post a profit for all of 2008, adding the company has already booked a substantial portion of pre-sold units. He siad, ‘China has money, people and a big market. How can you not be optimistic?’