Urban home prices recover as epidemic subsides

Cao Qian
After a flat February, China's urban property markets recorded moderate growth in March. Xining in Qinghai Province scored the fastest monthly price gain.
Cao Qian

Home prices climbed at a faster pace in all-tier cities across China in March as the impact of the coronavirus outbreak began to wane, according to monthly data released on Thursday by the National Bureau of Statistics.

New home prices in the four gateway cities, which remained flat in February, rose 0.2 percent from a month ago, according to the bureau, which monitors housing prices in 70 major Chinese cities.

Shenzhen and Shanghai both posted monthly growth, up by 0.5 percent and 0.1 percent respectively. In Beijing and Guangzhou, new home prices remained unchanged and fell 0.5 percent from February.

In the pre-occupied housing market, prices in the four top-tier cities jumped 0.5 percent on average, accelerating from February's 0.2 percent growth. Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen recorded month-over-month gains of 0.2 percent, 0.3 percent and 1.6 percent, respectively, while Guangzhou registered a dip of 0.2 percent.

In 31 second-tier cities and 35 third-tier cities, new home prices rose by an average of 0.3 percent and 0.2 percent, both picking up from February's 0.1 percent rise. Prices of existing homes in second-tier cities advanced 0.2 percent, after remaining unchanged for two consecutive months. In third-tier cities, prices of existing homes edged up 0.1 percent, reversing from a 0.1 percent drop in February.

"As the COVID-19 outbreak has been largely contained around the country and more work and production have resumed, housing demand curbed earlier by the epidemic started to re-emerge as well," said Kong Peng, chief statistician at the bureau. "However, rather moderate price increases suggest that the country's residential property market still remained stable in general."

Nationwide, new home prices in Xining, capital of Qinghai Province, rose 1.4 percent in March, the largest month-on-month increase. It was most closely trailed by Hangzhou, where a 1.3 percent increase was recorded, bureau data showed.

On a year-on-year basis, prices of new homes added 3.3 percent, 5.8 percent and 5.3 percent, respectively, in first-, second- and third-tier cities, all easing from growth recorded a month earlier. In the pre-occupied market, they rose 2.4 percent, 2.5 percent and 2.8 percent in first-, second- and third-tier cities, compared with gains of 2.2 percent, 3 percent and 3.3 percent, respectively, in February.

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