FXStreet (Delhi) – Tim Condon, Chief Economist at ING, suggests that more support is likely for Chinses housing sector and their baseline is that, after contracting by 15% for two years, housing starts are flat this year. Key Quotes “The PBOC and the CBRC jointly announced a cut in minimum downpayment ratios for first and second home purchases. The announcement is a follow up to the Central Economic Work Conference decision to make reducing inventories of unsold homes a main task for 2016. As of December 2015 residential floor space for sale was equal to 33 months of sales at the 2015 average sales rate, up from 30 months in 2014. The latest announcement isn’t the only CEWC follow-up. Last week Jiangxi became the first province to offer farmers cash subsidies for their first city home purchase. This is a flanking policy supporting urbanization through hukou reform, one of the government’s supply side reforms. We believe it aims to increase support for tier 3 and 4 housing markets, which have been much less responsive than tier 1 and 2 cities to the relaxation of provincial house purchase restrictions that has been underway since 2014. We credit the softer housing policy for swinging home sales growth to 6.9% in 2015 from -9.1% in 2014. This is important because the limited history indicates that housing starts follow home sales with a lag of about six months and we do not think it will be possible to reverse the deceleration of real estate fixed asset investment growth (to 1% in 2015 from 10% in 2014) unless housing starts stop contracting. Because of the relation between sales and starts, the slowdown in sales growth in the second half of 2015 warranted additional policy support. Housing policy is a watching brief – lifting mortgage restrictions for third homes is still on the table – but our baseline is that, after contracting by 15% for two years, housing starts will be flat this year.” For more information, read our latest forex news.