New home sales in China continue to grow by slower double digits in Q1

Third and fourth-tier cities outperform their larger counterparts where tightening policies to curb speculation are strictly enforced.

New home sales in China continued to grow by double digits, although at a slower rate, in the first three months of this year, according to data released today by the National Bureau of Statistics.

About 2.16 trillion yuan (US$343.7 billion) worth of new homes, excluding government-subsidized affordable housing, were sold between January and March, a year-on-year increase of 11.4 percent, the bureau said in a statement posted on its website. The growth was below the 15.7 percent expansion in the first two months.

The area of new homes sold in the three-month period climbed 2.5 percent from the same quarter a year earlier to 261.1 million square meters,  up from the 2.3 percent rise for the first two months, the bureau's data showed.

"As March is the traditional month when property sales start to recover as well as an important time to boost quarterly performance by real estate developers, buying sentiment continued to improve across the country," said Lu Wenxi, senior manager of research at Shanghai Centaline Property Consultants Co. 

"In particular, third and fourth-tier cities generally outperformed their larger counterparts which continue implement  tightening policies to curb speculation."

The inventory of new homes available for sale as of the end of March fell 25.4 percent from the same month a year ago to around 291.67 million square meters, the bureau said.

Investment in housing development, which took up 69.1 percent of total real estate investment in the first quarter, rose 13.5 percent year on year to 1.47 trillion yuan, up 1 percentage point from the first two months.

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