China Housing Bubble Finally Pops: First Slowdown After 19 Months Of Acceleration

After several months of slowing price growth across China's housing market, if mostly in the lower-tiered cities, China's National Bureau of Statistics reported that average mothly property prices growth in December continued to slow from November across the 70 cities tracked by the NBS, and this time impacted even the formerly untouchable, "Tier 1" cities.

Housing prices in the primary market increased 0.4% month-over-month after seasonal adjustment (weighted by population) in December, lower than the growth rate in November. Out of 70 cities monitored, 61 saw housing prices increase in December from the previous month, the same number as November.

However it is on an annual, population-weighted basis, where we got the first confirmation that the latest Chinese housing bubble has finally popped, as housing prices across the 70 cities were up 12.7% Y/Y, below the 12.9% annual growth rate in November. This was the first moderation in year-over-year housing price growth after 19 months of continued acceleration.

Looking at city-level data, house price inflation decelerated across all city tiers. In tier-1 cities, December price growth was 0.5% month-over-month after seasonal adjustment, slightly lower than 0.6% in November. Tier 2/3/4 cities saw housing price growth of 0.5%, 0.4% and 0.4% respectively in December, all lower than the growth rates in November.

Goldman notes that it expects the housing market to continue cooling down this year, thus adding a headwind to activity growth, and also becoming a headwind to the recent surge in Chinese PPI, which in turn has led a brief impules of exported inflation around the globe. If and when Chinese housing overshoots to the downside, look forward to the next deflationary wave emanating from China to once again spoil the central bankers' reflationary party.

Finally, a more practical question: now that the Chinese housing bubble has finally hit its inflection point and is headed downward, prompting the momentum chasers to flee, the question is whether the Chinese stock market is about to become the bubble choice du jour, as happened in mid to late 2014 and early 2015, when the bursting of the home bubble once again pushed all the housing speculators into the stock market with scary, if entertaining, consequences. It may not be a bade idea to buy some deep out of the money calls on the Shenzhen composite, as that is the place where the most degenerate of Chinese gamblers eventually congregate to every time the housing bubble bursts, only to be reincarnated two years down the line.