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China home prices increase average of 6.5% last year

CHINA'S house prices rose at a slower pace last year after slowing economic growth coupled with recessions in some nations deterred home buyers, the National Bureau of Statistics said today.

House prices in 70 major cities across the country gained an average of 6.5 percent in 2008, 1.1 percentage points lower compared to a year earlier, Ma Jiantang, head of the bureau, told a press conference held in Beijing by the State Information Office.
The country's house prices dipped 0.4 percent year-on-year in December, the first decline on record.

China's housing market began to suffer major setbacks since the second half of last year amid slowing economic growth in the country and financial turmoil around the globe. Transaction volumes tumbled in many cities while prices stopped going northward as sluggish momentum among home buyers prevailed.

In Shanghai, transaction volume and sales of new homes, excluding those designated for relocation uses, both plunged more than 40 percent to 19.65 million square meters and 160.84 billion yuan respectively in 2008, the local statistics bureau said yesterday. In the second-hand housing market, transaction volume also retreated 29.1 percent to 14.13 million square meters.

Meanwhile, compared to the value of sales, home prices dropped at a rather mild pace during the period. The sale price of new homes fell 1.9 percent in 2008 from a year earlier while that of used apartments fell 1.7 percent, according to the bureau.

However, total investment in the city's housing sector increased 0.7 percent to 84.36 billion yuan last year.


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