Chinese developer stocks rose on Friday after Finance Minister Liu Kun pledged more fiscal support for the economy and an easing of home-purchase down-payment requirements in several Chinese cities aimed at reigniting demand.
The Hang Seng Mainland Properties index, which tracks real estate developers, increased by 4.6% on Friday – its strongest daily performance since November.
News of easing conditions for first-time homebuyers came in contrast to negative sentiment from the US and Europe over tensions between Russia and Ukraine, which caused a sell-off on most Asian markets.
State-owned Poly Developments and Holdings climbed by 5.4%. And in Hong Kong, the properties index ended 2.9% higher, led by a 5.3% rise in the beleaguered Sunac China Holdings.
Other indebted developers also gained, such as Shimao Group Holdings, which rose by nearly 3%.
The rises came after local media reports said banks in a city in eastern China – Heze in Shandong Province – had cut mortgage down-payments in an effort to boost demand.
The Heze branches of the four biggest state-owned banks all reduced the down-payment ratio from 30% to 20% for first-time homebuyers, the business publication Caixin reported.
Caixin said Heze, formerly known as Caozhou, is the first Chinese city to take major easing measures targeting home buyers.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index dropped 1% and most other Asia-Pacific markets fell on Friday, following sharp losses in the US after the White House said Russia was on the brink of invading Ukraine.
AMC Gets Bonds Approval
In related news, China Orient Asset Management said on Friday it had approval to issue up to 10 billion yuan ($1.58 billion) in bonds on the interbank bond market to resolve risks in the property sector.
China Orient is one of China’s four big asset management companies (AMCs), or “bad banks”, originally set up to dispose of non-performing loans from major state banks.
China’s financial regulators met with its major bad loan companies last month to study how such AMCs can participate in developers’ asset disposals.
The property sector has been pummelled by restrictions imposed last year on lenders and applicants for mortgages in a bid to deleverage some of the vast amounts of debt held by builders such as China Evergrande.
- George Russell and Jim Pollard
This report was updated with further information on February 18, 2022.