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New home prices continue to fall in cities

By Cherry Cao (Shanghai Daily)

09:46, May 19, 2012

The number of Chinese cities recording decreases in new home values from a year earlier rose to the highest level yet in April as government curbs on property speculation persist, according to the National Bureau of Statistics data released yesterday.

Excluding government-funded affordable housing, prices fell last month in 46 of the 70 cities tracked by the bureau, compared to 38 cities that saw year-on-year declines in March. On a month-on-month basis, meanwhile, 43 cities witnessed drops in the price of new residential property in April, while three registered growth and the rest stayed flat.

"It is within our expectations that year-on-year decreases in home prices were found in more cities across the country as the central government has repeatedly pledged to stick to its tightening measures," said Sky Xue, an analyst with China Real Estate Information Corp. "And many of them, including the four gateway ones, continued to extend larger losses from a year earlier."

In Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou and Shenzhen, where house purchase restrictions have been vigorously enforced, new home prices lost between 1.2 percent and 1.7 percent in April from a year earlier. That compared to a retreat of between 0.3 percent and 1.1 percent in March.

Month on month, the four cities fell by between 0.2 percent and 0.4 percent, extending weakness for a seventh consecutive month, the bureau said.

New home prices in Wenzhou, Zhejiang Province, dropped 13 percent from a year earlier and lost 3.9 percent from March, leading all decliners on both year-on-year and month-on-month basis.

Prices for previously occupied homes fell in 56 cities last month from a year earlier, an increase of seven from March. They were unchanged in two cities while the remaining 12 saw gains of no more than 3.2 percent.

An earlier survey by the China Index Academy, which monitored 100 cities across the country, showed home prices fell by an average of 0.34 percent in April, losing momentum for the eighth straight month. Prices dropped in 71 cities, compared to 66 in March, with 14 seeing falls of more than 1 percent.

New home purchases by both volume and value remained flat in China in the first four months of this year.

Sales of new homes shed 14.9 percent year on year to 190.12 million square meters across the country between January and April while by value, they fell 13.5 percent to 1.03 trillion yuan (US$162 billion) from the same period a year earlier, the statistics bureau said last week.

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