CNN 12 reported that China’s real estate crisis is showing no signs of easing. The first to bear the brunt was troubled real estate developer China Evergrande Group in September, the first prominent real estate company to run into crisis in Beijing’s wave of action against real estate, which has since been followed by a growing number of developers making similar public statements that have unnerved investors and sparked fears of contagion throughout the industry. China’s once-hot real estate sector is now cooling rapidly, with four major developers – Evergrande, Fancy Year, Beyoncé and Sony Holdings – having fallen on hard times.
The crisis began with a warning from Evergrande last month, which sparked concerns about which banks and investors around the world might face its debt mountain. Since then, little has been resolved, and it’s unclear how this crisis will be resolved. These companies could try to restructure their debts and work things out with their lenders. They could also seek a bailout from the Chinese government, but so far Beijing authorities have said little on the issue other than promises to protect homebuyers.
Evergrande, which has about $300 billion in total debt, including $20 billion in international bonds, is China’s most indebted real estate company. in late September, Evergrande raised $1.5 billion in cash by selling part of its stake in a Chinese-owned bank. The company reportedly failed to make an interest payment on a $148 million dollar bond on time this week. It is the third such payment the group has missed in recent weeks.
Other real estate companies that have also fallen on hard times, luxury condo developer Fantasia Holdings, are also faltering. The Shenzhen-based company last week failed to repay $315 million owed to lenders, including $206 million in bonds and a 700 million yuan ($109 million) loan to the property management arm of China’s second-largest developer, Beyoncé. The company has a market value of HK$3.2 billion ($420 million) and its shares are down nearly 60 percent this year. Another homebuilder, Sony Holdings, is the latest company to join the ranks of troubled developers, saying Monday it may default on some of its $250 million worth of bonds. The principal and interest on those bonds are due on Oct. 18.
Economists believe Beijing still has the necessary measures to tightly control the financial system to prevent a Chinese version of the Lehman moment from playing out and prevent a wave of corporate failures from turning into a financial crisis. But many investors and analysts also believe that potential business models could change and that some developers may not survive the transition period.