December 30, 2016 / 1:03 PM / 8 months ago

China's top 3 property developers make $144 billion in sales in '16

A visitor looks at a model of a new apartment complex at a showroom of Evergrande Real Estate Group in Wuhan, Hubei province, November 9, 2013.Stringer/File Photo

BEIJING (Reuters) - China's top three real estate developers made combined sales of more than 1 trillion yuan ($144 billion) in 2016, helped by soaring home prices in big cities, according to a ranking released by a private research agency on Friday.

China's booming property market this year has given heavily indebted property developers a much-needed boost, with new home prices soaring a record 12.6 percent nationwide in November compared with a year ago, official data showed.

Evergrande Group (3333.HK), Vanke (000002.SZ) and Country Garden (2007.HK) became the three biggest real estate vendors in 2016, by making 381 billion yuan ($55 billion), 362 billion yuan ($52 billion) and 309 billion yuan ($45 billion) respectively in property sales, said the research agency China Index Academy.

In 2015, the top three sales winners of the year - Vanke, Greenland (600606.SS) and Evergrande - made slightly more than 700 billion yuan in sales, the Academy said.

Twelve Chinese real estate developers exceeded 100 billion yuan in sales in 2016, up from seven in 2015, while 131 developers had sales of more than 10 billion yuan, compared with 104 in 2015, it said.

The academy said about 70 percent of Evergrande's sales in 2016 came from hot second-tier markets, such as Wuhan, Tianjin and Nanjing.

But the market has shown signs of softening as policymakers vow to crack down on speculation in 2017, raising fears over developers' debt burdens in the year ahead.

November price growth eased to 0.6 percent compared with the pervious month, with monthly price growth in Beijing and Shanghai stalled, official data from the Statistics Bureau showed.

(This story corrects in the fifth paragraph to say 12 developers exceeded sales of 100 billion yuan, not 10 billion; 131 developers exceeded sales of 10 billion yuan, not 1 billion)

Reporting by Yawen Chen and Ryan Woo; Editing by Robert Birsel

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