China’s Housing Bubble Desperation In Six Words: “Buy One Floor, Get One Free”

China’s Housing Bubble Desperation In Six Words: “Buy One Floor, Get One Free”

Tyler Durden on 05/29/2014 22:00 -0400

Having gone from the sublime (zero-money-down mortgages for Chinese homes) to the ridiculous (when China’s largst property developer says “the period in which everybody makes money out of property is gone,”) the latest desperate act of a dying Chinese property bubble is stunning. As WSJ reports, Season Joy City (a remote suburb of Beijing) offers not only a party bag of bonuses to lure potential buyers; but the development’s big selling point is “buy one floor, get one free.” The government’s reluctance to bail the nation out may soon be tested as Barclays notes “this downturn is more serious than in 2008.”

As we ironically noted previously –  “please take this home: it’s free.”

But the biggest draw is a “zero down payment” scheme, available for a two-and-a-half-week period only. At first sight this seems to go against government regulations, brought in to keep house prices under control, which stipulate a minimum 30% down payment on ordinary residential purchases.

Zero down payment schemes have popped up around China as developers go to ever greater lengths to shift apartments, but Season Joy City may have the distinction of being the first to try it in Beijing, said Tang Li, an analyst at North Square Blue Oak, an investment bank.

“They will help homebuyers to apply for this consumer loan that they can use as a down payment,” said Mr. Tang. “It’s very difficult to judge whether this is in line with the regulations or not. So far there’s been no punishment from the government.”

And then there is the really desperate…

Season Joy City offers a party bag of bonuses to lure potential buyers. The development’s original selling point was “buy one floor, get one free.”

When China Real Time visited last week, helpful sales assistants also offered to throw in kitchen fittings and four air conditioning units for nothing.

As developers are desperate to avoid cutting prices..

All this is to avoid cutting prices, which developers could fear could tank public faith in the housing market and ultimately pummel sales further. Instead, they resort to ingenious “promotions,” throwing in freebies worth thousands of dollars and even whole free rooms rather than slashing prices outright.

And it is not likley to end well…

It’s very clear that developers are in a hurry to sell,” said Rosealea Yao, a Beijing-based analyst at research firm Gavekal Dragonomics. “Developers in the suburbs always see the biggest decline in sales and prices [during a downturn].”

If the property sector is in deep trouble, it’s going to affect a whole lot of industries and that will drag down the entire economy,” said Liu Qinglong, assistant sales manager at the development. “I think in the future the government will set up a long-term mechanism to ensure steady growth of property market.”

Barclays is less sanguine than your average Wall Street silver-lining hunter…

The downturn this time is more serious compared to 2008 and 2011,” said Barclays Bank analyst Alvin Wong.

The very fact that the PBOC had to provide that window guidance means there is a problem,” said Xiang Songzuo, chief economist at Agricultural Bank of China Ltd., using industry jargon for central bank jawboning. “Now, what you’re hearing from banks’ local branches is that ‘we just don’t think the property is worth that much money anymore.'”

“I don’t believe that the local governments will be allowed to reverse the home purchase restrictions.”

As WSJ concludes, with buyers standing on the sidelines and some developers starting to sound desperate, the government’s ability to support the market may soon be put to the test.


About bambooinnovator
Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (, the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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