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November 20, 2017

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House prices stay ‘generally stable’ in China

China’s property market remained stable in October with home prices falling or posting slower growth in major cities amid tough control policies, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.

On a yearly basis, new housing prices saw slower growth in 13 of the 15 major cities considered the “hottest markets,” the bureau’s data showed.

On a month-on-month basis, new housing prices fell in nine of the 15 cities.

New home prices in Tianjin, Shanghai and Chengdu rose 0.1, 0.3 and 0.7 percent, respectively, from a month earlier.

Of the 70 large and medium-sized cities surveyed, home prices in 50 cities rose month on month, compared with 44 in September.

Bureau statistician Liu Jianwei said housing prices were “generally stable” in major cities as control policies in different cities continued to take effect.

New housing prices in the country’s first-tier cities dropped 0.1 percent compared with a month earlier, while pre-owned home prices remained flat.

On a yearly basis, both new and pre-owned home prices in first-tier cities reported slower growth for the 13th consecutive month in October.

New home prices in smaller second and third-tier cities both rose 0.3 percent month on month, higher than the growth in September.

The data provide fresh evidence that the property market boom is running out of steam as the government continues cooling measures to squeeze asset bubbles.

Since late last year, dozens of local governments have passed or expanded restrictions on house buying and raised minimum down payments.

The market was also cooled by relatively tightened liquidity conditions as the government moved to contain leverage and risk in the financial system.

Data from the People’s Bank of China showed that loans to the real estate sector continued to slow, with outstanding loans up 22.8 percent year on year to 31.1 trillion yuan (US$4.7 trillion) at the end of September, 1.4 percentage points lower than the rate seen at the end of June.

Despite the cooling measures, China’s economy expanded by a robust 6.9 percent year on year in the first three quarters, well above the government target of 6.5 percent for the year.

Recent policies have showed the government will not loosen its stance in curbing property speculation and that will limit the upward potential for housing prices, Bank of Communications said in a note.

Authorities stepped up measures to act against irregularities in property financing earlier this month, prohibiting property developers, real estate agencies as well as Internet finance and micro-loan companies from offering illicit down payment financing.

Using funds obtained via channels such as consumer loans for property purchases will also be banned, the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development said.

Earlier data showed that property sales by floor area rose 8.2 percent in the first 10 months, losing 2.1 percentage points from the January-September level. At the end of October, 602.58 million square meters of property remained unsold, down by 8.82 million square meters from a month earlier.


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