China needs housing space 'the size of Singapore' each year till 2030

The Fitch estimates come at a time of reports of overbuilding and unsold housing stock in many areas of China

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A general view of buildings in Puxi district from the Jin Mao Tower amid heavy smog in Shanghai, China, July 28, 2016. REUTERS/Aly Song

BEIJING (Reuters) - China needs to build residential property space that's roughly equivalent to the land area of Singapore, or 800 million square meters, every year until 2030, Fitch Ratings estimated.

This means demand for new housing will remain relatively resilient, a Fitch report released on Monday said. Fitch's estimate is based on the assumption that over one-third of new demand will be driven by the demolition of all properties built before 1990, while demand from marriage-driven first-time buyers will decline after peaking in 2013.

The Fitch estimates come at a time of reports of overbuilding and unsold housing stock in many areas of China. In July, the official Xinhua news agency reported that there are development plans in Chinese cities to have housing capacity for 3.4 billion people, which is more than 2.5 times China's population and could exacerbate oversupply.

China completed 737 million square meters of residential property in 2015, an 8.8 percent decline from a year earlier. In the first half of 2016, completed residential housing floor space rose 19.2 percent from the same period last year to 290 million square meters.

(Reporting by Elias Glenn; Editing by Richard Borsuk)