Real estate remains a hot property in China, with E-House
Let's start with E-House. The real estate agency's fourth-quarter revenue more than tripled to $117.1 million. Even on an organic basis -- before E-House combined its real estate information and consulting services with SINA's
The gross floor area of sold properties during the quarter rose 137%, yet the value of those sales was up 154%. In other words, real estate prices continue to inch higher in China.
You already know about the 165% increase in organic revenue, so go ahead and peek on the bottom line to find non-GAAP earnings up 226% to $0.42 a share. E-House started with a big number, but made it even larger in the end.
China Real Estate Info also rocked. Revenue rose 203% to $41.3 million for the quarter, and would have still more than doubled if the company hadn't taken on SINA's online realty arm. The company's non-GAAP profit of $0.13 a share is a healthy improvement over the $0.08 a share it rang up a year ago.
Both E-House and China Real Estate Info are projecting a substantial quarter-to-quarter drop in revenue for the current quarter, but don't panic. Chinese real estate is very seasonal, and the $69 million to $71 million that E-House is targeting still represents an 89% to 92% increase over last year's showings (after backing out SINA's impact).
The market isn't giving the industry the respect it deserves. China Real Estate Info is trading for less than the $12 price it went public at back in October. It's not right. Real estate is languishing domestically, yet Web-savvy ZipRealty
Will the real estate bubble pop in China? It very well might, but the stocks are already discounting a pretty sudsy mess. I suggest that the improving Chinese economy -- with gradual improvement in the average Chinese citizen's earnings power -- will help soften the blow (if and when the bubble does burst).
There's a compelling foundation here. It's hard to ignore the growth.
What do you think of China's real estate opportunities? Share your thoughts in the comments box below.
Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz is not about to buy a house in China, but he is fond of the real estate plays in the country. He does not own shares in any of the companies in this story. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.