June housing prices remain stable

Housing prices in major Chinese cities remained stable in June as local governments continued to curb the property sector, official data showed yesterday.

Housing prices in major Chinese cities remained stable in June as local governments continued to curb the property sector, official data showed yesterday.

On a year-on-year basis, new residential housing prices in China’s four first-tier cities saw no change last month, the National Bureau of Statistics said in a statement.

But their average month-on-month growth of new home prices rose to 0.6 percent in June from 0.3 percent in May, according to the bureau’s data based on a survey of 70 cities. Prices were unchanged in Beijing and Shanghai, but increased 1.9 percent in Guangzhou and 0.3 percent in Shenzhen.

New home prices declined year on year in seven of the 15 “hotspot” cities, where speculative home purchases are monitored, with the most significant price drop of 2.2 percent last month, while eight other cities posted growth. In month-on-month terms, prices rose in 10, one more than in May, fell in two, and remained steady in the other three.

“Local governments have been firm on achieving housing control goals and implemented control measures in June,” the bureau’s senior statistician Liu Jianwei said.

During previous years, rocketing housing prices, especially in major cities, fueled concerns about asset bubbles. To curb speculation, local governments rolled out restrictions on purchasing homes and increased the minimum down payment required for a mortgage.

“China’s home prices are relatively stable given the figures of the 70 cities,” said Mao Shengyong, spokesman for the statistics bureau. “But structural problems still exist in the housing market.”

Mao said third and fourth-tier cities have experienced price spikes since the beginning of this year, and some “hotspot” cities face challenges to tame price surges of properties.

In the 31 second-tier cities, new home prices climbed an average 1.2 percent from May, and 0.7 percent in the 35 third-tier ones.

But year on year, prices jumped 6.3 percent in the second-tier cities, and rose 6 percent in the third-tier ones.

The government will continue to work on the property tax scheme and policies that allow tenants to enjoy the same rights as homeowners, Mao said. “A long-term mechanism will be developed to promote the steady and healthy development of the housing market.”

Haikou in south China’s Hainan Province witnessed the biggest month-on-month increase — 3.9 percent, compared with 2.1 percent in May. In Sanya, prices increased 3.2 percent in June, 0.8 percentage points faster than the monthly figure in May.

Jinan in Shandong Province and Dandong in Liaoning Province also saw strong month-on-month rises — 3.6 percent and 3.3 percent.

“Market momentum picked up in June, which is the traditional month for real estate developers to gear up for half-yearly performance,” said Lu Wenxi, senior manager of research at Shanghai Centaline Property Consultants Co. “As a result, only four cities recorded a monthly decrease in new home prices, compared with two in May.”

Prices of pre-occupied homes generally remained unchanged in the first-tier cities in June compared with May, climbed 0.7 percent in the second-tier cities and 0.6 percent in the third-tier cities, the statistics bureau said.

Data released on Monday by the bureau showed 5.66 trillion yuan (US$845 billion) of new homes were sold in the first half of 2018, a year-on-year rise of 14.8 percent — up from 12.8 percent in the first five months.

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