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City homes prices decline

HOME prices retreated for another month compared to last year in major Chinese cities in March.

Prices in 70 medium and large cities fell 1.3 percent year-on-year last month, extending losses for the fourth consecutive month, the National Development and Reform Commission said today on its Website.

That compared to a decline of 1.2 percent in February, 0.9 percent in January and 0.4 percent in December.

Around the country, prices for new and second-hand homes dropped an average 1.9 percent and 0.4 percent on a yearly-basis respectively, while on a month-on-month basis, they edged up 0.1 percent and 0.3 percent, according to the commission, the country's top economic planner.

Shanghai's housing prices fell 2 percent last month from a year ago while gaining 0.4 percent from a month earlier, according to the commission's online report. New apartment prices slipped 2.7 percent year-on-year but recorded no change from February.
Meanwhile, second-hand home prices withdrew 1.5 percent on a yearly-basis but were 0.8 percent higher than the previous month.

New home prices in 21 cities tracked by the commission declined from a month earlier and over the same period, 35 cities secured mild gains. Meanwhile, in the used-home sector, prices in 18 cities dropped and gained in 39 cities, the commission said.

The National Bureau of Statistics also said today on its Website that real estate investment hit 448 billion yuan (US$65.6 billion) in the first quarter, a year-on-year growth of 4.1 percent. Among all, investment in new houses, excluding those designated for relocation, rose 3.2 percent from a year earlier to 342.2 billion yuan.

Construction began on 201 million square meters' of real estate property between January and March, a year-on-year drop of 16.2 percent. Over the same period, 99.22 million square meters' of property completed construction, up 26.3 percent compared to same period a year ago.

Land acquisitions, however, plunged 40.1 percent to 47.42 million square meters, the bureau said.

Sales of new homes, excluding those built for relocated residents, jumped 24.7 percent nationwide in the first three months. The area involved climbed 8.7 percent.


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