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China Evergrande gives 25% discount off its properties

Country's third largest developer says offer - for properties on sale from Feb18-29 - is part of 'routine marketing'

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China Evergrande says that it has sold nearly 50,000 properties in three days of online sales. The coronavirus outbreak has kept potential buyers at home.

BeijingĀ 

CHINA Evergrande Group, the third-largest developer by sales in the country, said on Sunday that it will give a 25 per cent discount for all its properties on sale from Feb 18 to Feb 29.

The offer comes as property firms fear that the coronavirus outbreak would hit the market.

Evergrande said it will also offer 22 per cent discount for all its China properties being sold, including office and commercial properties, next month.

"(The measures) are routine marketing and there is no specific reason for the price cut this time," said an official at Evergrande.

Chinese property developers and realtors have adopted virtual reality showrooms and live-stream marketing to thaw a frozen market as the coronavirus epidemic keeps physical offices shut and potential buyers are afraid to leave their homes.

Evergrande said at a news conference on Sunday that it has sold nearly 50,000 properties since it started online sales three days ago.

Sheng Songcheng, a government advisor attending the China Chief Economist Forum on Saturday, said: "It's hard for properties to be sold online... Even if property demand is expected to rebound after the coronavirus outbreak, the bug will still have a huge impact on sales in the short term."

He expects that the value of lost property sales could reach 1.44 trillion yuan (S$286.49 billion) in the first quarter, and that property investment could drop by as much as 37.5 per cent on year due to the outbreak of the flu-like virus.

This is projected to knock China's full-year economic growth rate by as much as 0.16 percentage points and indirectly affect employment of 734,000 people, he said.

Mr Sheng also urged the government to roll out supportive measures for property developers, such as extending loan repayment for firms taking a big hit and appropriately widening financial channels.

Property investment accounts for about 20 per cent of China's fixed-asset investment. REUTERS