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Demand for homes continues to rise

SHANGHAI'S second-hand housing index continued to rise in April.

The monthly index, which tracks prices of existing homes in 52 areas, gained 30 points, or 1.26 percent, to 2,348 last month. March saw an end to seven straight months of decline.

"End-users seeking homes either for marriage or accomodation improvement continued to be the dominant force in the local market whereas buyers looking for safe-haven assets could also be found," said Chi Shengyu, an analyst at the index compiler's office. "And encouraging policies from the government such as reduced tax and fees and lowered lending rates from the banks have further spurred those demands."

Major increases were seen in five downtown districts, led by Luwan, Xuhui and Changning. Price for used homes in the three districts climbed 1.99 percent, 1.68 percent and 1.65 percent respectively.

Across the city, 47 out of 52 monitored areas reported increases over the past month with an average rise of 1.61 percent.

Second-hand homes in Beixinjing of Changning District recorded the biggest price increase of 3.1 percent, followed by those in Huangpu's City God Temple area and Xuhui's Huajing area, which rose 3.05 percent and 2.69 percent month on month.

A total of 28,600 units of used homes were sold in Shanghai last month, up 11 percent from March. The sold units had a total floor area of 2.38 million square meters, up 21 percent. Average prices, meanwhile, rose 4.3 percent to 11,674 yuan (US$1,709) per square meter, according to the latest statistics released by Century 21 China Real Estate.

Pudong, Minhang and Baoshan were the top three spots, with volume of space changing hands hitting 432,000, 350,000 and 238,000 square meters, respectively, Century 21 research found.

Separately, the local rental index, also released by the index compiler, dipped 1 point to 1,197 in April.

Rentals for high-end apartments and mid-class properties both declined while those for low-end ones rose slightly.

Xujiahui, a traditional prime area for high-end residences, remained the top loser last month with a rent decrease of 2.3 percent.


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