Residential buildings in Beijing. The average price last year for second-hand housing in China's capital was 60,925 yuan per square meter, down 3.3% from a year earlier. Photo: iStock

Major real estate developers have bucked the trend by maintaining a relatively high level of sales growth amid the ongoing downturn in the housing market, reported.

According to CRIC Research, in 2018, annual sales of the top 100 housing enterprises increased by 35%, while the number of housing enterprises whose sales record broke 100 billion yuan (US$14.54 billion) reached 30 —  a significant increase, compared with 12% and 17% in 2016 and 2017, respectively.

Country Garden achieved sales of 728.69 billion yuan, a year-on-year increase of 32.3%, ranking the first since 2017. The sales growth of Vanke and Evergrande also reached 14.5% and 10%, respectively, at 606.92 and 551.1 billion yuan.

However, compared to the average growth rate of the top three in the industry in 2017, which is over 50%, the gain in 2018 dropped drastically.

The CRIC predicts that China’s real estate industry will transform from high-speed growth to steady growth in 2019. The growth rate of the top 100 real estate enterprises will be hard-pressed to maintain 40%, and will likely fall back to 20% to 30%.