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November 17, 2009

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Home » Business » Real Estate

National housing prices tipped to dip

HOUSING prices in China are expected to fall slightly in the fourth quarter this year as price increases and reduced lending may curb property purchases, the nation's top think-tank said in a report issued in Beijing yesterday.

The volume of property sales may decline in the fourth quarter, but investment in the real estate market would keep growing, the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences said in the report.

It did not distinguish between new and second-hand homes.

October saw property prices in 70 medium-sized and large Chinese cities rise 3.9 percent from a year earlier and 0.7 percent from September, according to data from the National Bureau of Statistics last week.

New home prices climbed 0.9 percent from September, 0.1 percentage points higher than the growth rate in September.

The growth rate of second-hand house prices eased in October. These rose 0.4 percent month on month in October, but the growth rate was 0.1 percentage points down from September.

Prices of second-hand houses in some major cities started to fall. In Beijing, the average price of second-hand houses stood at 11,920 yuan (US$1,746) per square meter in October, down 1.65 percent from September, according to the capital city's statistics bureau.

Housing prices rebounded in March on expanded lending and the government's favorable policies, including tax breaks and interest cuts.

Chinese banks extended 8.92 trillion yuan in loans in the first 10 months, 5.26 trillion yuan more than the same period of last year, after the government lifted lending limits for banks last year.

However, record lending triggered concerns of assets bubbles and pushed up housing prices. Speculation was the main reason behind the latest increases, the report said.

The real problem was that financial institutions did not strictly implement the government's favorable policies, which spurred excessive demand and speculation, said Ni Pengfei, a researcher with the Institute of Finance and Trade Economicsof the social sciences academy.

The government may take further steps to spur housing consumption as the economic recovery was still largely dependent on property market, the report said.


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