New home sales move slowly

New home sales in China rose at a slower pace in the first five months of this year.

New home sales in China rose at a slower pace in the first five months of this year, according to figures released by the National Bureau of Statistics on Friday.

Between January and May, about 4.5 trillion yuan (US$650 billion) worth of new homes, excluding government-subsidized affordable housing, were sold across the country, an increase of 8.9 percent from same period a year ago. That compared with the 10.6 percent growth recorded in the first four months.

The area of new homes sold in the first five months totaled 487 million square meters, a year-on-year dip of 0.7 percent, reverting from a 0.4-percent increase registered in the first four months.

"The general buyer momentum around the country retreated moderately in May after strong performances in March and April, a rather natural break for the market," said Lu Wenxi, senior manager of research at Shanghai Centaline Property Consultants Co. "Meanwhile, in a handful of cities, tightening measures have been imposed to curb overheating, thus leaving many home seekers on the sideline again as their outlooks have been changed."

On the inventory side, newly built homes available for sale as of the end of May stood at 239 million square meters, down 14.8 percent from a year earlier. That compared with 243 million square meters recorded as of the end of April.

Investment in residential property development, which represented 73.3 percent of total real estate investment, rose 16.3 percent year-on-year to 3.38 trillion yuan between January and May.

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