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Property prices fall last month but declines are slowing down

PROPERTY prices last month fell by 0.6 percent year on year in 70 medium and large Chinese cities, dropping for the sixth consecutive month, the National Development and Reform Commission said yesterday.

Prices dropped 1.1 percent in April, 1.3 percent in March, 1.2 percent in February, 0.9 percent in January and 0.4 percent in December.

However, on a month-on-month basis, property prices rose 0.6 percent last month, according to the NDRC.

Prices of new homes fell an average 1.3 percent year on year but were up 0.7 percent from a month earlier.

Prices of second-hand homes climbed 0.9 percent from a year earlier and rose 0.7 percent compared to April.

Twenty-eight of the 70 cities registered year-on-year price increases for new homes while prices fell in 41. On a month-on-month basis, 60 cities recorded rising prices for new homes while six said prices were falling, the commission said.

Investment in the real estate sector continued to increase. The National Bureau of Statistics said yesterday that 1.017 trillion yuan (US$148.8 billion) was invested in real estate development in the first five months of 2009, a year-on-year growth of 6.8 percent. Investment in new housing developments excluding those designated for relocated residents due to urban redevelopment programs rose 4.4 percent from a year earlier to 710.5 billion yuan.

Nationwide, sales of new homes excluding those meant for relocated residents soared 49 percent in the first five months while the volume of space rose 26.7 percent.

In Shanghai, the volume of new homes sold last month reached 2.1 million square meters, a month-on-month increase of 10.5 percent, according to E-house (China) Holdings Ltd.

In the second-hand market, 29,300 used homes, or 2.37 million square meters, were sold in Shanghai last month, up 2.35 percent and down 0.6 percent, respectively, from April. Average prices rose 1.4 percent month on month to 11,838 yuan per square meter.


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