Chinese Developers Offer Home-Buyback Guarantees As Komatsu Warns Construction Is Slumping

You know it's bad when... Property developers in two of China’s weakest housing markets are offering to buy back homes in the future above the purchase price in a desperate effort to boost sales as demand slumps. As one analyst understatedly notes, "obviously they’re relatively cash-thirsty," but are under massive pressure not to reduce prices for fear of the signal it would send (that losses were possible). This 'fear' is echoed loudly by the CEO of Komatsu (the world’s second biggest maker of building and mining equipment) who saw said sales in China are falling more steeply than anticipated (20% below expectations) and warned "the impact of China is big."


As Bloomberg reports,

China’s home sales slumped 10.2 percent in the first five months of this year from the same period a year earlier amid tight credit and an economic slowdown, reversing last year’s 27 percent jump.


The average new-home price in 100 cities tracked by SouFun Holdings Ltd. fell 0.5 percent in June from the previous month, accelerating from the 0.3 percent decline in May that ended 23 consecutive months of gains.

But the bursting of the bubble has led developers to desperate actions...

In Hangzhou, where home prices fell the most in May among 70 Chinese cities watched by the government, Shanheng Real Estate Group is giving homebuyers an option to sell back their apartments in five years for 40 percent above the purchase price.


In Wenzhou, DoThink Group is offering to repurchase homes at three of its projects for 120 percent of the purchase price after three years.


The offers are the latest strategy by developers across China, including reducing prices, delaying project launches and offering incentives to potential buyers, as they seek to maintain sales targets.

It appears to not be working...

Prices of new homes fell in May from April in half the 70 cities tracked by the government, the largest proportion since May 2012, according to government data. A more persistent and sharper downturn in the property sector is the biggest risk for China’s economy in the next couple of years, according to UBS AG.


“Obviously they’re relatively cash-thirsty,” said Dai Fang, a Shanghai-based analyst at Zheshang Securities Co.

And that is borne out by the derivative players of this collapse - Komatsu’s China sales in the two months were about 20 percent lower on the previous year...

Komatsu, the world’s second biggest maker of building and mining equipment, said sales in China are falling more steeply than anticipated, joining larger peer Caterpillar in flagging fraying Asian demand.


Komatsu’s sales in China, where economic growth is slowing, dropped dramatically in April and May and it will probably miss its annual target for the nation, Chief Executive Officer Tetsuji Ohashi said in an interview, citing delays to the start of some construction projects.




As a seller of equipment to both mining and construction companies, Komatsu is particularly vulnerable to fading growth in China, the world’s second-biggest economy and its biggest buyer of raw materials.


“Since the impact of China is big, we will closely monitor the situation,” Ohashi, 60, said at the company’s Tokyo headquarters last week.

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But, but, but the PMIs are at multi-month highs so it all must be great right (oh aside from the lowest employment in 8 months)