Thu, Apr 19, 2012 - Page 10 News List

New house prices in two-thirds of cities falling: PRC

AFP, SHANGHAI

New house prices in two-thirds of China’s major cities fell last month, the government said yesterday, as officials maintain policies to curb the property market.

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

Out of 70 major cities tracked by the government, 46 recorded falls in house prices last month from the previous month, the National Bureau of Statistics said — one more than February.

Only eight cities registered price rises, while 16 were flat, the bureau said in a statement.

“New house prices are generally continuing to go lower,” it said.

Cities with active property markets, such as Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen, have seen prices fall for six straight months, the bureau said.

Analysts say measures aimed at limiting prices are threatening the country’s economy as property investment helps drive growth, while revenue from land sales is a key source of income for local governments, but the Chinese government, which has faced widespread criticism over unaffordable house prices, has remained firm.

The State Council said on Friday last week that the government would “maintain property control policies without wavering,” even after economic growth slowed to a near three-year-low of 8.1 percent in the first quarter.

Property market curbs have also affected inflows of foreign investment, a commerce official said on Tuesday. Foreign direct investment in China fell 2.8 percent year-on-year in the first quarter to US$29.48 billion.

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