Stable home prices in major cities indicate policy effectiveness

Housing markets in China's 15 major cities were generally stable for another month in December as differentiated rein-in policies to curb speculation continued to take effect.

Housing markets in China’s 15 major cities were generally stable for another month in December as differentiated rein-in policies to curb speculation continued to take effect, data released yesterday by the National Bureau of Statistics showed.

Four of the 15 cities, including first-tier ones and key second-tier cities, saw decline in new home prices from November. Prices in three cities were flat from a month earlier, and the remaining eight posted month-on-month growth, according to the bureau, which monitors property prices in 70 Chinese cities.

In the four first-tier cities, new home prices in Shanghai added 0.3 percent from November, the only gainer among the four. Prices in Beijing were flat while those in Guangzhou and Shenzhen fell 0.2 percent and 0.3 percent, respectively.

On an annual basis, prices in nine cities retreated between 0.2 percent and 3 percent while those in the remaining six cities rose by between 0.1 percent and 5.5 percent from a year earlier, according to the bureau.

“Price fluctuations on a monthly basis in the 15 major cities were all within a moderate range, indicating a largely stable housing market,” said Liu Jianwei, a senior statistician at the bureau.

“On an annual basis, the majority of these cities recorded lower prices.”

Nationwide, new and pre-owned home prices in the four first-tier cities fell year on year for 15 consecutive months in December.

Meanwhile, lower-tier cities were showing some signs of picking up, the bureau’s data suggested.

New home prices in second and third-tier cities rose 0.6 percent and 0.5 percent month on month, respectively, both 0.1 percentage points faster than that in November.

In the pre-owned housing market, prices in second and third-tier cities both climbed 0.3 percent, the same pace from a month earlier.

In a separate statement yesterday, the bureau released annual property sales and investment data for 2017.

Sales of new homes, excluding government-subsidized affordable housing, rose 11.3 percent last year to 11.02 trillion yuan (US$1.7 trillion), up from the 9.9 percent growth in the first 11 months of 2017.

By area, new homes sold last year climbed 5.3 percent from 2016 to 1.45 billion square meters, slowing from a 5.4 percent gain in the first 11 months.

By investment, about 7.5 trillion yuan were invested in residential development nationwide last year, an annual increase of 9.4 percent, 0.3 percentage points slower than that in the first 11 months.


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