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Chongqing's high-rises buck downtrend in China

The Raffles City Chongqing under construction at the confluence of the Yangtze River and Jialing River in south-west China's Chongqing Municipality.


IN MANY Chinese cities, government restrictions have cooled formerly feverish property markets, but in the south-western city of Chongqing, construction is booming and sales soaring as investors rush in.

One of the newest additions to the city's skyline is a mega-project of eight futuristic high-rises, six of which are connected by a vertiginous skybridge.

The Raffles City Chongqing - a project by Singapore real estate developer CapitaLand - looms over a bend in the Jialing river, where its dark-green waters meet the muddy currents of the grand Yangtze.

The 73-storey towers, part of a project built at a cost of US$4.8 billion, are proof that a slowdown which has seen sales slump nationwide has not taken hold in Chongqing.

In recent years, Beijing has banned capital flight, curbing investments in foreign projects such as a luxury development built by Chinese developers in Malaysia.

Authorities have tightened regulations in the country's main cities, requiring buyers to show proof of residence before purchasing homes.

Those rules have benefited places like Chongqing, a key logistics staging point in China's Belt and Road Initiative.

The city is China's largest market in terms of area of residential apartments sold: some 31.23 million square metres of new homes were sold in 2018, with sales of new homes jumping 64.3 per cent in March, compared to a 0.6 per cent drop nationally.

The sales came despite Chongqing's economy losing steam after years of double-digit growth, with its gross domestic product growing just 5.3 per cent in 2018 - well below the national pace. AFP