Property sales in China could peak this year and then stabilize at a level slightly below that of 2015, Japanese brokerage Nomura Securities Co said on Thursday.
The growth in real estate sales on a national basis (in terms of value) rose by 10 percent in the first six months, surpassing the brokerage's estimates, Jeffery Gao, head of Nomura's China property research, said on Thursday.
Sales on a floor area basis in July fell 2.2 percent over June and rose 57.5 percent from a year ago, according to the China Real Estate Information System, which was developed by SouFun Holding Ltd.
Analysts said this was an extraordinary performance given that July is a traditional offseason and June is a high comparison base.
Buoyed by the data, industry experts said sales would continue to maintain a healthy momentum, particularly against the backdrop of a loosening credit environment. The 10 percent expected annual growth would push the overall yearly sales to the highest level in history, Gao said.
"Except for Shenzhen, where credit conditions tightened due to a price rally, in most of the other cities we visited recently, banks were offering first-time buyers mortgage rates that were the same or below the benchmark lending rate. This, in turn, has made houses cheaper by more than 10 percent," Gao said.
Until now, 2013 saw China's largest annual property sales, with about 1.3 billion square meters of commercial property being sold. Sales fell by 7.6 percent in 2014.
"From a short-term perspective, we are apprehensive that sales could slow significantly in December, given the possible credit tightening usually seen at the end of a year and a very high comparison base from the end of 2014," Gao said.
If that happens, 2015 sales could still exceed 2013 level, but delayed sales into the following year could make 2016 a peak period. But sales in the subsequent years are not expected to surpass the levels seen in 2015, Gao said.
After the recent robust sales, inventories in tier-1 cities have fallen to "healthy" levels while they are inching towards healthy levels in tier-2 cities, according to Nomura. Inventories in tier-3 cities are still relatively high, with very little chance of a price rebound.
Gao said as sales accelerated, new housing starts declined at double-digit pace in the third-tier cities. Though the slow real estate investment is a major drag on GDP growth, the scenario is still good for the property sector.