Global property investment firms looking for bargains in China

Developers in China face a glut of properties coming on the market this autumn which will add to a slowing market.

Traditonally October is a busy time but experts say they are likely to be disappointed this year as there is no sign of any recovery in the sector because of a glut and stricter credit controls.

The soaring supply, including a large number of low-cost units, will be partly responsible for blocking the chances of any market rebound in Beijing.

According to Yahao Real Estate, a Beijing-based property brokerage firm, around 80 commercial residential projects will be put up for sale in September and October.

The situation in Shanghai isn't much better. Property prices have held steady there in the past months but are now showing signs of a meltdown.

Vanke, China's biggest listed property developer, has seen its real estate sales plunge 35% in the last year.

According to analysts, foreign investors are watching the market in China closely on the look out for bargains. But there are also reports that the Chinese government, fearing mass bankruptcies and a property price slide, is going to ease the tough measures it introduced to cool the market at the end of last year.

'We expected there to be a lot more guys going under and a lot more forced-sale situations,' said Chris Gradel, managing partner at Pacific Alliance. But he believes it will be the smaller developers who end up in trouble.

So far, few developer bankruptcies have been reported. A Nanjing property tycoon, Liu Fulin, abandoned his home building business in February in favor of pig farming when hog prices soared. Another firm in the same eastern city, Nanjing Panlong Jinling Property Development, went bankrupt in July.

However the hard times are affecting the big boys too. Changhui, one of the country's biggest property agencies, has closed half its 1,800 outlets.

Citigroup and JPMorgan Chase said they are expecting developers to offer plum deals and they are eager to invest in China.