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China’s housing market renders slower growth amid tighter measures

NEW home purchases in China grew at a continuously slower pace in the first two months of this year with tightening policies remaining strictly in place in first and major second-tier cities.

New residential properties worth 912.1 billion yuan (US$131.5 billion), excluding government-funded affordable housing, were sold across the country between January and February, a year-on-year increase of 22.7 percent, the National Bureau of Statistics said in a statement today. That slowed from the 36.1 percent rise in 2016.

The area of new homes sold during the two-month period rose 23.7 percent from a year earlier to more than 124.39 million square meters. The rise, however, accelerated from the 22.4 percent gain recorded last year, according to the bureau's data.

"Eleven of the 15 major cities recorded month-over-month price falls in January, three witnessed no change and the rest one registered slower growth," Shen Laiyun, spokesman of the bureau, told a press conference. "Meanwhile, inventory destocking process in third and fourth-tier cities picked up their pace in the first two months of this year."

Between January and February, the area of new properties sold in non-core Chinese cities jumped 35.9 percent year on year, up 14 percentage points from 2016. 

Batches of rein-in measures, mainly including stricter home purchase restrictions and higher downpayment requirement and mortgage rates, have been introduced since September 2016 in dozens of Chinese cities to cool overheated housing markets and they have remained unwaveringly tight so far with no signs of loosening.

In the first two months of this year, investment in housing developments around the country rose 9 percent year on year to 657.1 billion yuan, up 2.6 percentage points from 2016, according to the bureau's data.


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