There has been a slew of openly bizarre, if not outright ridiculously manipulated and fabricated data out of China in the past month – which is to be expected by an authoritarian regime that for much of January arrested anyone who “leaked” the facts about the deadly coronavirus pandemic which Beijing was hoping to cover up until it simply became far too big – but the latest house price “data” may have been the straw that broke the camel’s back.
Overnight, the National Bureau of Statistics reported that the latest 70-city housing price data showed that in January, the average home price appreciation in the primary market was 0.4% in January, the identical same pace as December, despite tens of millions of Chinese citizens living under quarantine or some form of lock down. Even more surreal, the number of cities with housing price increases was higher in January – which China’s economy ground to a halt ahead of both the Lunar New Year and the subsequent coronavirus chaos – than in December.
Here are the details according to Beijing: Commercial housing prices in the primary market in the 70 cities tracked by China’s National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) (weighted by population) rose 0.4% month-over-month in January after seasonal adjustment, same as December. Property price appreciation was faster in tier 1 cities and unchanged in tier 2/3 cities, while price declines narrowed in tier 4 cities.
It gets better: out of the 70 cities monitored, 60 cities saw seasonally adjusted housing prices increase in January (53 cities saw price increase in December last year.) On a year-over-year, population-weighted basis, in the primary market, housing price appreciation was 6.2% in January in the 70 cities, slower than 6.5% in December.