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Property market slows as panic subsides

(Shanghai Daily)

08:46, May 14, 2013

The value of new home purchases in China rose at a slower pace in the first four months with home seekers feeling less panicky in April compared to a hectic March.

Sales of new residential properties, excluding government-subsidized affordable housing, jumped 65.2 percent from a year earlier to 1.69 trillion yuan (US$273 billion) between January and April, the National Bureau of Statistics said yesterday. That compared with 69 percent annual growth registered in the first quarter.

By volume, new home purchases climbed 41.1 percent to 268 million square meters during the four months, slightly down from January-March's 41.2 percent growth rate.

"As governments around the country released their local guidelines in response to a central government announcement to implement new tightening measures, panic buying and selling began to cool down, with markets, particularly in big cities, seeing signs of stabilizing," said Lu Qilin, a Shanghai Deovolente Realty Co researcher.

In April, new home sales fell to 494.6 billion yuan from 569.4 billion yuan in March, while they declined to 79.3 million square meters from 94 million square meters in March, according to bureau data.

More than 30 Chinese cities, including Shanghai and Beijing, issued local guidelines for property curbs before an April 1 deadline.

The State Council rolled out an array of measures on March 1 in its latest bid to tighten controls on the property market amid expectations of rising housing prices. A 20 percent tax on capital gains triggered a wave of selling and buying.

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