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China’s property market cools under tightening measures

TIGHTENING measures implemented in major cities around the country proved effective to curb sentiment among buyers as new home purchases continued to grow by a slower pace, data released today by the National Bureau of Statistics showed.

New residential properties worth 9.9 trillion yuan (US$1.44 trillion), excluding government-funded affordable housing, were sold across the country in 2016, a year-over-year increase of 36.1 percent. That compared with a 39.3 percent gain in the first 11 months and a 42.6 percent jump between January and October last year.

By area, meanwhile, more than 1.37 billion square meters of new homes were sold during the 12-month period, an annual growth of 22.4 percent. The rise also decelerated from the 24.5 percent gain in the first 11 months and the 27 percent increase in the first 10 months of last year, according to the bureau's data.

"The country's real estate market went well in general last year with polarized performances continuing to be seen in different tiered cities," said Ning Jizhe, the bureau chief. "We expect the market to remain healthy this year."

The government will continue to support demand from end-users and crack down on speculators, he said.

More than 20 cities, including four first-tier cities and major second-tier ones, started to introduce rein-in policies since late September to cool down their overheated housing markets where rapidly surging property prices are preventing more people from owning a roof over their head and triggering higher risks at the same time of asset bubbles that might pose a threat to the country's real economy.

Between January and December, overall investment into residential development climbed 6.4 percent year on year to 6.87 trillion yuan, 0.4 percentage point higher than in the first 11 months, the bureau said.


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