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China home prices fall faster in January

HOUSE prices in China extended losses for a second consecutive month when they fell at a faster pace last month as slowing economic growth at home and abroad bites further into the real estate industry.

Prices in 70 major cities across the country slipped 0.9 percent last month from a year earlier, compared with the first year-on-year drop on record in December of 0.4 percent, the National Development and Reform Commission said yesterday on its Website.

Nationally, prices of new and second-hand homes dropped 0.3 percent and 0.1 percent, respectively, from a month earlier, according to the commission, the country's top economic planner.

Of the cities, Xiamen, Kunming and Guiyang lost the most from a month earlier as their new home prices fell 2.6 percent, 1.9 percent and 1.5 percent, respectively.

Bucking the downward trend, new home prices in Guangzhou, Ningbo, Lanzhou and Changsha gained between 0.3 percent and 0.1 percent month-on-month.

The housing market in the country had a bumpy 2008, especially in the second half which saw a tumble in transaction volumes and prices.

Data released yesterday by E-House (China) Holdings Ltd showed a total of 506,795 square meters of new homes, excluding those built for relocated residents, were sold in Shanghai last month, a fall of 41.4 percent from a year ago.

Some industry observers said next month and April may see sharp cuts in home prices in Shanghai.


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