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Shanghai used-home index hits new high

SHANGHAI'S second-hand housing index rose to a record high last month amid increasingly strong sentiment among home buyers, particularly for upscale residences.

The monthly index, which monitors prices of existing homes in 56 areas across the city, climbed 1.18 percent, or 28 points, to 2,398 last month, extending a rally for the fourth consecutive month.

"It's the highest since the index was launched at 1,000 points in November 2001, but it doesn't necessarily mean that prices are also at record levels," said Chi Shengyu, an analyst at the index compiler's office. "The index does track home prices but it is mainly an indicator of market fluctuations on an average basis."

In the first half of this year, the housing index jumped 4.38 percent, signifying a rebound in the overall market. The index dropped for seven consecutive months between August 2008 and February 2009.

Second-hand homes in five downtown districts registered an average price increase of 1.84 percent last month, compared with 1.39 percent in May. Huangpu District continued to lead gains with a month-on-month increase of 2.46 percent, followed by Jing'an and Luwan districts, which gained 2.28 percent and 1.97 percent respectively.

Across the city, 50 of the 56 monitored areas secured gains over the past month while four suffered setbacks and two remained unchanged.

Across the city, second-hand homes in 14 areas registered an average increase of 2 percent. Those in Huangpu's City God Temple area topped the list with a monthly growth of 4.39 percent. Changshou in Putuo and Caojiadu in Jing'an took the second and third spots, up 3.01 percent and 2.99 percent respectively.

Some 31,300 units of used properties, mainly residential, were sold across the city last month at an average price of 12,400 yuan (US$1,815) per square meter, up 4.8 percent month-on-month and 25 percent year-on-year, according to research released by Century 21 China Real Estate, operator of the city's second-largest brokerage chain.

Separately, the rental index, also released by the index compiler, edged up 2 points, or 0.17 percent, to 1,194 last month.

Rents for high-end apartments and low-end homes both inched up while mid-class properties remained almost unchanged.


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