* Jan-July property investment +13.7 pct y/y vs +14.1 pct in
* Jan-July new property construction -12.8 pct y/y vs -16.4
pct in H1
* July property sales -16.3 pct y/y vs -0.2 pct in June
* Property downturn is expected to continue-analysts
(Adds details, comments)
BEIJING, Aug 13 China's property market showed
further signs of weakening in July, with real estate investment
slowing and sales falling sharply despite efforts by many local
governments to shore up the troubled sector.
Combined with July activity data released over the past
week, the figures suggest softness in the housing market is
becoming an increasingly drag on other parts of world's
Property investment grew 13.7 percent in the first seven
months from a year ago, down from an annual rise of 14.1 percent
in the first half, the National Bureau of Statistics(NBS) said
Newly started property construction dropped 12.8 percent in
the January to July period from the same time a year ago, though
the decline easing from an annual drop of 16.4 percent in the
first six months.
Meanwhile, property sales dropped 16.3 percent in July in
terms of floor space, according to Reuters calculations based on
That compared with a 0.2 annual drop in June.
Property investment growth and newly started construction
are expected to cool further in the coming months as developers
slow their activities amid weak demand, analysts said.
"The surprisingly deep drop in home sales will continue to
weigh on the property market," Zhao Dazhen, a property analyst
at CEBM Group, an investment research firm in Shanghai.
"If the sales continue to worsen in coming months, we think
the government will unveil more measures to support the
industry," said Zhao.
A growing number of local governments have eased
restrictions on property purchases in recent week, while
state-controlled banks have also revved up lending to the
sector, though some analysts believe banks are increasingly
reluctant to lend to some developers as the downturn persists.
At least 30 regional governments, which earn a large chunk
of their revenues by selling state land, have openly or quietly
relaxed home purchase restrictions this year, according to data
from CRIC, a unit of real estate services firm E-House China
Analysts said the unwinding of property controls would lend
some support to the market in coming months but a greater
concern would be whether authorities made credit more readily
available to borrowers.
The NBS data showed mortgage loans fell 3.7 percent in the
first seven months of 2014, unchanged from the first half.
A tighter financial environment is considered one of reasons
for the cooling property market as Chinese banks have become
more cautious on extending property-related loans this year.
Local authorities in southern Fujian Province earlier this
month urged banks to increase loans to developers and home
buyers, while the western Sichuan Province has started to
provide fiscal subsidies to banks which offer cheap mortgage
loans to first home buyers.
(Reporting By Xiaoyi Shao and Koh Gui Qing; Editing by Kim