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People's Daily Online>>China Business

New housing sales fall to lowest in 6 years

By Cao Qian (Shanghai Daily)

10:13, January 05, 2012

New home sales in Shanghai last year fell to the lowest in six years despite a rebound in December while the average price continued to climb.

The sales of new homes, excluding government-funded affordable housing, totaled 7.3 million square meters across the city last year, an annual drop of 22.2 percent, according to a research released yesterday by Shanghai Deovolente Realty Co. But the average price rose 2.1 percent from a year earlier to 22,012 yuan (US$3,494) per square meter, extending its increase for the sixth straight year.

"The yearly volume was the lowest since 2006 when property data was first tracked in the city, and it is because of a raft of austerity measures imposed by the central government since late January to rein in housing speculation," said Lu Qilin, a researcher at Deovolente. "There should be further room for home prices to drop from its current high levels as the measures will remain."

In December, the city's new home transaction rose 18 percent from November to 579,000 square meters as sales improved, helped by price cuts by some developers, according to Century 21 data.

China's top leaders vowed last month during the annual Central Economic Work Conference to maintain the tightening policies on property this year, including home purchase restrictions, curbs on onshore and offshore fundraising options for developers and higher down payments for multiple homebuyers. The Shanghai government also confirmed two weeks ago that it would further tighten efforts to curb housing speculation until prices become more affordable to ordinary buyers.

Meanwhile, the average cost of a new apartment - referring to new homes but excluding villas - in Shanghai was 2.54 million yuan last year, against 2.53 million yuan in 2010, a separate report released yesterday by Century 21 China Real Estate showed.

Nearly 60 percent of areas tracked by Deovolente across the city registered higher average apartment price in the fourth quarter of last year against that in the first quarter.

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