Chinese officials say risks controllable in China's housing market amid Evergrande's debacle
Published: Oct 20, 2021 09:26 PM
Cranes are seen at a construction site of a housing complex in Beijing on Thursday. Photo: VCG

Cranes are seen at a construction site of a housing complex in Beijing on Thursday. Photo: VCG

Risks in China's housing market remain overall controllable despite individual problems that have arisen, Vice Premier Liu He said on Wednesday, in the latest reassurance from senior Chinese officials about the stability of the country's property sector amid the Evergrande debt crisis.

Reasonable capital needs are being satisfied and the big trend of a healthily developing property market won't change, Liu said at the annual Financial Street Forum in Beijing, which kicked off on Wednesday.

Also on Wednesday, comments by Yi Gang, governor of the People's Bank of China (PBC), the country's central bank, over the Evergrande crisis was posted on the PBC's website. Yi said that the major risks related to developer Evergrande are defaults on debts as they fall due, the shutdown of some of its construction sites, and uncertainty facing the on-time delivery of presold homes, adding that the Evergrande risk is specific.

Speaking at the Group of 30 virtual seminar on Sunday, Yi also enumerated moves to handle this individual case, including avoiding the spread of the Evergrande risk into other property firms and keeping the risk from feeding into financial markets.

Evergrande owes about $300 billion, with one-third of that falling under financial liabilities. This, adding to the diverse creditors and collateral Evergrande has offered for its debts, suggests that the spillover of the Evergrande incident on the financial sector is under control, according to the PBC governor. 

He stressed that the legitimate rights and interests of creditors and property owners, particularly homebuyers, will be fully respected and protected strictly in line with the legally prescribed order of repayment. 

Yi voiced confidence about containing the risk to a certain range and averting systemic risks.

The official reiteration that risks from the indebted developer are controllable indicates "the most stressful time [of the Evergrande crisis] has passed," Yan Yuejin, research director at Shanghai-based E-house China R&D Institute, told the Global Times on Wednesday.

"There's little chance of a massive property easing, and a large-scale bailout is merely an unlikely illusion," Yan said.

Meanwhile, a well-advanced overhaul in China's real estate finance is proving effective in easing the liquidity crunch confronting property lending, he said, noting that the problems of individual developers and the issue of tightening liquidity have apparently become less of a concern.

Also speaking at the Financial Street Forum on Wednesday, Pan Gongsheng, deputy governor of the PBC, said that excessive risk aversion among financial intuitions and the financial market was being corrected, with fundraising activities and prices in the financial market gradually returning to normal.

In a sign of a cooling market, prices for new and secondhand homes across 70 major Chinese cities either stayed flat or fell in September on a month-on-month basis, data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed on Wednesday.

On a yearly basis, growth in home prices in these cities, both new and secondhand, continued to moderate, per NBS statistics.