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China Research Body Retracts High Property Vacancy Report

Beike Research Institute has apologized and withdrawn a recent report that warned of an oversupply in China’s property market and high rates of unoccupied homes in major cities.


A research group apologized on Thursday for a property report that said China had a high rate of vacancies.
The Beike report said the average housing vacancy rate in 28 major cities in China is higher than the average rate in the US, Canada, France, Australia and Britain, with a 7% vacancy rate in tier-one cities including Beijing, and 12% in tier-two cities. This stirred a heated debate and fears it would aggravate poor sentiment in the debt-ridden sector. File photo: Jade Gao, AFP.

 

A property think tank apologised on Thursday for sparking a heated public debate over a report it did on rising housing vacancy rates in China.

Beike Research Institute conducted a survey and published a report on August 5 that warned of an oversupply in China’s property market and high rates of unoccupied homes in major cities.

But the group, owned by KE Holdings, said on Thursday its assessment may not be sufficiently accurate.

“The survey takes whether a home has been unoccupied for three straight months as an indicator, which does not fully reflect the real situation,” Beike said in a statement published on its WeChat account.

“We will cross-check the accuracy of the data with the housing, water and electricity departments.”

Reports of high vacancy rates could worsen sentiment in China’s distressed property market where some cash-strapped developers have defaulted on loans and bond repayments and homebuyers in several cities are refusing to pay their mortgages due to work stoppages on unfinished homes.

The government has in recent months stepped up measures to help stabilise the sector, which accounts for roughly a quarter of the economy.

The Beike report said the average housing vacancy rate in 28 major cities is higher than the average rate in the United States, Canada, France, Australia and Britain, with a 7% vacancy rate in tier-one cities including Beijing, and 12% in tier-two cities.

Beike declined to provide further comment when contacted. The report is no longer available on its official WeChat account.

 

  • Reuters with additional editing by Jim Pollard

 

 

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Jim Pollard

Jim Pollard is an Australian journalist based in Thailand since 1999. He worked for News Ltd papers in Sydney, Perth, London and Melbourne before travelling through SE Asia in the late 90s. He was a senior editor at The Nation for 17+ years and has a family in Bangkok.

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