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Rise in home prices recorded in most cities

By Hu Yuanyuan  (China Daily)

10:39, January 19, 2013

Analysts remain confident levels will be kept in check due to policy curbs

More than half of China's major cities saw a rise in home prices in December, on both a yearly and monthly basis, according to official figures released on Friday.

Of the 70 major cities monitored, 40 saw property prices rise year-on-year, compared with just 18 in November.

But their average growth rate was capped at 2.4 percent, the National Bureau of Statistics said on Friday.

On a month-on-month basis, 54 major cities saw prices rise, compared with 35 in November.

Though their average growth rate was below 1.2 percent, the growth rate is higher than the 0.9 percent for the previous month.

Home prices in Beijing, for instance, rose 0.8 percent against the previous month, and 1.8 percent compared with the same period of last year. It was a similar situation in the pre-owned home market, NBS statistics showed.

Commenting on the figures, Liu Chunyan, executive director of real estate service provider World Union, said: "Prime property in key cities will face huge price-hike pressure in 2013, due to the supply-demand imbalance.

"But soaring prices across the country are still unlikely, considering the government's determination to rein in runaway property prices."

Frank Chen, executive director of international real estate service provider CBRE, added: "We expect the country's home price growth will be around 10 percent this year."

A homebuyers' confidence index, released by World Union, has indicated that potential homebuyers are now more optimistic toward the country's real estate market.

The index reading was 57 in the fourth quarter of last year, up 0.4 percentage point quarter-on-quarter.

According to separate statistics from the Beijing housing authorities, sales of pre-owned homes in Beijing reached a 23-month high in December, due to shrinking supply and some panic buying.

A total of 17,920 homes were sold and registered online last month, a 24 percent increase over the previous month - the highest rise recorded since the government launched measures in February 2011 to curb runaway property prices.

A manager at HomeLink, the large-scale brokerage firm, said the company's transactions in Beijing in December were equal to the whole of 2010.

In another report published on Thursday, World Union suggests the country's real estate market will see further consolidation this year, with large property developers taking more market share.

The report said the country's top 20 developers had a 20 percent market share in the first three quarters of last year, but that financing difficulties will further disadvantage smaller developers.

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