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Tightening measures take another bite

FIFTEEN Chinese cities that have the strictest tightening measures in place to curb speculation registered slower year-over-year growth in new home prices for another month in May, adding evidence that the country's hottest property markets continued to stabilize.

All 15 cities including four first-tier ones recorded slower year-on-year price growth, decelerating by 0.5 percentage points to 6.4 percentage points compared to April, the National Bureau of Statistics said today.

On a month-over-month basis, six cities recorded new home price gains, unchanged from April.

"Around the country, first and second-tier cities registered the most notable retreats in price growth in both new and existing markets," said Liu Jianwei, a senior statistician at the bureau, which monitors prices in new and pre-occupied home markets in 70 major cities. "For instance, in the four first-tier cities, year-on-year price growth of new and existing houses both fell for the eighth consecutive month in May."

In second-tier cities, new home price growth on a year-over-year basis dropped for the sixth straight month in May and price growth of existing homes declined for the fourth consecutive month, the bureau's data showed.

Among the 70 cities, 29 cities recorded slower year-on-year new home price growth in May, compared to 30 cities in April. In the existing home market, 18 cities registered slower year-on-year price increase.

On a month-over-month basis, 26 cities registered slower new home price growth, an increase of three from April. In the pre-occupied housing market, 30 cities recorded slower growth, a rise of eight from a month ago.

In Shanghai, new home price remained unchanged from April and gained 12.9 percent from same period a year ago, according to the bureau.

A separate report released today by Shanghai Centaline Property Consultants Co echoed that lackluster sentiment continued to prevail in major cities around the country last month amid strictly imposed rein-in measures. New home sales, excluding government-subsidized affordable housing, totaled 23.47 million square meters in 40 major Chinese cities in May, a month-over-month drop of 12 percent and a year-on-year plunge of 32 percent.


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