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China’s property market at risk

News that government measures to cool China’s sizzling property market were beginning to work have no doubt been a relief to many investors in the country.

Property, afterall, is particularly important in China, with property construction alone accounting for 15 per cent of China’s gross domestic product. But a report in Monday’s FTfm says it is not time to stop worrying yet.

Edward Chancellor, a member of the asset allocation team at investment manager GMO, looks at the parallels between the Spanish housing market bubble and the bubbles he thinks are still inflating in the China, Hong Kong and Singapore property markets.

The three respective authorities have all instituted measures to cool their property markets. Beijing has gone furthest. Over the past couple of years, the People’s Bank of China has raised bank reserve requirements nine times.

Chinese banks have been ordered to restrict lending to real estate developers. Households face a limit on the number of properties they can acquire. Beijing also plans to provide some 36m affordable homes over the next five years.

The trouble is that none of these measures will work, according to Chancellor. He points out that during Spain’s housing boom there was relatively low loan-to-values on mortgages. Spanish banks also kept mortgages on their balance sheets and there was no subprime.

Nothing the government did stopped the great Iberian housing bubble from inflating. Spanish home prices more than doubled between 2001 and 2006. Housing construction soared. The lending boom actually increased in intensity after the introduction of counter-cyclical capital rules.

ft.com

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YcHlUZOs-5s[/youtube]

Hong Kong, Brazil or France are in the top list for real estate investment 

Even as the value of residential real estate around the developed world continued its multi-year plunge in the second quarter, some countries bucked the trend. In seven national markets, housing values rose by more than 5 per cent in the second quarter compared to the second quarter of 2010. In two countries, prices rose nearly 20 per cent.

Data from the Global Property Guide for second quarter real estate values around the world reveals values in the U.S. dropped by 9.05 per cent in the period. Predictably, Greece, Spain, Ireland, and Portugal are the other nations with deep housing value problems. In Greece, property values fell 9.9 per cent in the second quarter of this year from the second quarter of 2010. That drop was 15 per cent in Ireland. Each of these European nations has deep deficit problems and has instituted austerity packages, which have tended to hurt growth and employment. Also, each is in the process of being financially bailed out by other nations in the EU.

Among the top countries to invest are: Hong Kong, Brazil, Thailand, Taiwan, Norway, Singapore, France or Switzerland.

Read complete list here: 247wallst.com