Pre-construction sales of Beijing residential units dipped 76 percent in September from the same month last year, figures from an industry website show.
In total, 2,788 pre-construction units were sold last month, a daily average of 93 units, according to statistics from the Beijing Real Estate Trade Management website under the Beijing Municipal Construction Committee.
The figure was the lowest among publicized monthly figures in the past three years, the website said on Thursday. It represented declines of 29 percent from August and 42 percent from July.
"It was really worrisome," said Li Wenjie, general manager for north China business at the Beijing-based real estate broker Centaline China. Traditionally, September is usually the busiest season for Chinese developers.
Judging from the September figures, Li said Beijing property sales had entered a downward trend. As demand weakened, supply built up. Through September, residential buildings in the capital available for pre-construction sales rose 46 percent from January 1 to reach 113,185 units, said the website.
House prices in Beijing increased 8.9 percent in August from the same period last year but stayed at the same level as in July.It was the first time it didn't rise month on month this year, statistics show.
In Shanghai, about 290,000 square meters of housing were sold in the first 20 days of September, around 20 percent of the figure in the same period in 2007, according to the research institute under the property information provider Sofun.com.
Xue Jianxiong, director of the Shanghai Uwin real estate research center, said consumers were anticipating lower prices amid the market correction. Most developers, however, were reluctant to offer substantial discounts in hope of government stimulus for the cooling sector.
Housing prices in China's 70 big- and mid-size cities grew 5.3 percent year on year in August, slowing 1.7 percentage points from July, official data revealed.
Investment bank Goldman Sachs said in a report last month the country's developers would suffer further capital strain in the second half as the lending activity of banks might continue to shrink.
Inadequate liquidity had forced developers to slow price increases or even lower prices in some Chinese cities as the government tightened credit supply over property development to bring surging house prices in control.