If trends in China are any indication, real estate sales could bounce back as soon as coronavirus restrictions are lifted. Emerging from the outbreak, the country has slowly started easing lockdowns and saw real estate activity come back even stronger as a result.
As outlined in a new report by Knight Frank, the number of real estate sales across China’s 30 largest cities reached 5,976 on March 31 — an enormous increase from a low of 22 on Feb. 8, when the country was at the height of the pandemic. It is also slightly higher than December’s pre-pandemic average of 5,760 sales.
The country, where the outbreak began, saw the number of coronavirus cases peak at more than 19,000 new cases a day on February 17. But China has reportedly been able to control the virus with strict lockdowns and closures of all non-essential businesses. As the virus spread globally, China has its number of new daily infections in recent days drop to single-digit numbers caused mostly by those coming into the country from abroad.
“The reopening of workplaces between mid-February and early March was reflected in a substantial recovery in activity across different sectors,” Kate Everett-Allen, head of international residential research at Knight Frank, wrote in the report. “The recent uptick in property transactions suggests this filtered through into buyer sentiment with a degree of pent-up demand being released.”
While the last available prices for homes (February data) in China reflect pre-pandemic increases, researchers expect March and April home values to drop somewhat to reflect the decline in sales. Along with economic hits caused by the lockdowns, consumer confidence took a hit of 6 percent as people continue to hold off on spending money amid job, financial and health insecurity — a stat that indicates that the rise in real estate sales could still fluctuate.
“China’s economy is unlikely to see a straight-line trajectory in property sales as labour markets remain weak and consumer sentiment may deteriorate if tighter restrictions return,” Everett-Allen wrote.