Over nearly a decade that we have been researching the China housing markets at Real Estate Foresight, we have seen so many twists and caveats to the interpretation of key data points. Even those headline-level figures such as national sales volumes (an important indicator for any macro investor) are often misunderstood.
Composition changes, formula adjustments, sources of underlying data, relation to other key data points... or choosing the suitable growth metric, or accounting for Covid impact - these are not easy to grasp unless you spend proper time studying it.
If you have a direct or macro exposure or interest in China property, and would like to get a solid grip on the key data, or train your analysts to be equipped with such knowledge, please do get in touch - we also do purely data-focused briefings and trainings for clients.
As an example, did you know that the national sales volume figure is based on the data from contributing developers with the core business in development, but there are other firms also doing development but are not included; or what’s the difference between ‘commercial buildings’ and ‘residential buildings’ in the NBS data; or how the funds from relocation compensation boosted the sales number in certain years; or in what ways could we adjust for Covid impact in 2020 to get a like-for-like view. And that’s an easy example compared to price indices, inventory figures, land sales, new starts, under-construction numbers and many others.
As to the latest data - the table below from our Data Update note yesterday shows a more striking and consistent drop in land sales across different measures compared to a more complex picture earlier.