China property prices to gain this year: Fitch (by Chris Oliver)
HONG KONG (MarketWatch) -- China's residential property prices will continue to appreciate this year, although gains will be shallower than last year, according to a Fitch Ratings report Friday. The ratings agency forecast appreciation of about 5% to 10% for the broader market, with gains underpinned by rising incomes and foreign investment. Fitch said it has a stable outlook for the Chinese property developers it tracks, noting that they should see rebounding sales this year. Still, Fitch cautioned demand for housing, particularly in Beijing, Shanghai and other top-tier cities, will be weighed by the regulatory environment. These cities, it said, will face tight controls on speculative investment in the form of curbs on purchases and bank lending. The mood among first-time buyers and those seeking out larger homes should pick up at the end of the first quarter and continue throughout the year, the report said.