It took Yang Yankun and his colleagues at Homelink Real Estate Agency Co. in Shanghai more than a year to sell a 1.5 million yuan ($241,620) apartment in February. Three other units sold in the same month at deep discounts. “March and April are traditionally good months, but March hasn’t been as good as I expected,” Yang, a broker, said. “We haven’t seen one home sell quickly.”
China loosened home-buying rules on March 30 to revive a slumping market that’s weighing on economic growth. Two interest-rate cuts since November and the removal of curbs by local governments have failed to boost demand as inventory has swelled to more than six years of sales, BNP Paribas SA estimates. Home purchases have plunged this year and prices in 100 cities tracked by SouFun Holdings Ltd. have extended their declines.
The People’s Bank of China on Monday lowered the minimum down payment for second-home buyers who are repaying their first loans to 40 percent from 60 percent. The government also exempted some homeowners from paying a 5.5 percent sales tax if they sell after two years. That’s a change from five years.