The larger developers doing business on the mainland — either based in China or Hong Kong — includes China Vanke Co.Ltd.; China Overseas Land & Investment Ltd. (COLI), whose parent is China’s largest state-run construction firm; and Guangzhou R&F. China Vanke’s shares are listed on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange, while COLI and Guangzhou R&F shares trade on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.
The worry for Korean officials is that a spiraling property market will come crashing down and cut economic growth at a time when the won, the country’s currency, is appreciating and potentially making Korean exports less competitive. In Japan, low interest rates and a cheap yen have made money easily available to invest in higher-yielding assets (the so-called yen-carry trade). This helped to fuel property appreciation worldwide, but also distorted prices for real estate and listed property shares at home. In late January 2009, it announced that it would enforce a capital gains tax on real estate sales, a move that could take a bite out of developers’ profit margins. Meanwhile, government officials have made clear that affordable housing for first-time buyers would continue to be apriority. The country is also in the process of fine-tuning its law on property rights, which will give property holders more legal protections.
In January 2009, the country’s construction minister said that a 2010 rule meant to ensure that developers build more low- and mid-range housing units would be strictly enforced. Premier Wen Jiabao echoed the sentiment in a speech to the Chinese legislature in early March, noting that the country should focus on development of “reasonably priced” commercial housing, according to media reports. The 2010 rule requires developers to allocate70% of future residential projects for apartments no larger than 90 square meters (approximately 970 square feet). It was aimed at cutting the supply of luxury apartments, which had been a high-margin business for developers, but a sector rife with speculation.
Shenzhen-based China Vanke’s largest markets are Shenzhen and Shanghai, although it is expanding in Beijing. In January2010, it bought a 60% interest in a development company run by Beijing’s district government. For the nine months ended September 2010, net income rose by more than 61% to 1.4 billion yuan ($187.5 million).
Revenues increased by nearly 52% to 8billion yuan as the company successfully launched new projects in Beijing, Tianjin, and Chengdu. Revenues from continuing operations, including joint-venture interests, rose by nearly 46% to HK$4.5 billion ($580 million) in the six months through June 2010 (most recent available).Operating profits jumped by 23.5% toHK$921.5 million. At Guangzhou R&F Properties Ltd., which sells residential units primarily in Guangzhou, Beijing, and Tianjin, sales through the six months through June 2010 fell by 36% year on year to 1.3 billion Yuan.
Operating profits were down by close to47% to 366 million Yuan. The company attributed the shortfall in sales and profits to its timeline of project completions, most of which were scheduled for delivery in the second half of 2010.