China's largest developer Vanke says Sept sales down 4 pct

SHANGHAI, Oct 9 (Reuters) - China Vanke Co Ltd , the country's largest real estate developer by sales, said its September sales fell 4 percent to 12 billion yuan ($1.91 billion) from the same period a year ago.

Vanke and other large developers have been winning business at the cost of the many small property companies in China, but still find themselves facing more than two years of regulatory restrictions preventing Chinese citizens from buying certain types of property.

Vanke said on Tuesday it sold 1 million square metres of property last month. For the first nine months of the year, Vanke hit 96.3 billion yuan in sales on 9 million square metres of property sold, the company said in a statement to the Shenzhen stock exchange.

To curb property speculation in a country where property is one of the few outlets for investment, China has restricted bank lending to the real estate sector and limited the ability of its citizens to buy multiple homes or homes in other cities. They have targeted high-end housing, which has doubled prices in key cities between mid-2009 and the end of 2010.

In August Vanke reported a 25.1 percent rise in first-half net profit, but the developer saw profit margins narrow as it cut prices to win business.

($1 = 6.2872 Chinese yuan)

(Reporting by Kazunori Takada; Editing by Matt Driskill)

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Keywords: VANKE SALES/