Friday, May 18, 2012

Home prices fall in 60% of big Chinese cities

SHANGHAI: Prices for new homes in China fell in more than 60 percent of major cities in April from March, the government said Friday, as moves to curb the property market took effect.

Out of 70 major cities tracked by the government, 43 registered month-on-month falls in house prices last month, although that number was less than the 46 cities recorded in March.

Prices were unchanged in 24 cities in April while only three cities saw price rises, the National Bureau of Statistics said in a statement.

China has implemented several measures aimed at limiting runaway property prices for more than a year, including bans on buying second homes, hiking minimum down-payments and introducing property taxes in certain cities.

Despite worries about the impact on the economy, authorities have shown little sign of easing their tight policies.

"We must firmly strengthen control of the property market... not allowing the adjustment and control (policy) to be reversed," a senior housing ministry official said in comments published Friday.

Zhang Xiaohong, deputy head of the ministry's market supervision department, said the goal was to return prices to "reasonable" levels, the official Securities Times newspaper reported.

China recently announced a slew of disappointing economic figures for April, prompting the government to cut the amount of money banks must keep in reserve in a bid to boost lending -- and therefore growth.

Property investment also helps drive growth and land sale revenue is a key source of income for local governments.

But analysts said little change in government policy was expected in the short term.

"The adjustment of home prices is still in the middle of a long cycle. We expect home prices to remain weak in the coming months," Zhang Zhiwei, chief China economist for Nomura Securities, told AFP.

- AFP/cc

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Source From Channel news Asia

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