Fri, May 03, 2013 - Page 15 News List

Chinese house prices rise as growth cools

AFP and AP, BEIJING

A worker wearing protective glasses welds steel products at a heavy equipment manufacturing factory in Luoyang, Henan Province, China, on Wednesday. The growth of China’s manufacturing sector eased last month as new export orders fell for the first time this year, a private survey showed yesterday.

Photo: Reuters

Chinese house prices picked up last month in their fifth consecutive monthly rise, an independent survey showed yesterday.

The cost of a new house in 100 major cities rose 5.3 percent year-on-year to an average 10,098 yuan (US$1,638) per square meter, the China Index Academy said.

House prices increased 3.9 percent in March and 2.5 percent in February.

On a monthly basis, prices rose 1 percent from March, the academy said in a statement, continuing a run of increases for the 11th month in a row.

“Looking ahead, cities where house prices are rising quickly face the risk of even tighter regulatory policies,” said the academy, which is owned by SouFun Holdings (搜房), China’s largest real-estate Web site operator.

Property prices are a sensitive issue in China and authorities have sought for the past three years to control their rise.

New rules issued in March to rein in prices included a capital gains tax of 20 percent on profits that owners earn from selling residential property.

Other measures to contain prices have included restrictions on purchases of second and third homes, higher minimum down payments and taxes in some cities on multiple and non-locally owned houses.

Separately, a survey of Chinese manufacturers shows activity slowed last month as global demand weakened, adding to signs its shaky recovery might be weakening.

HSBC said yesterday its purchasing managers index fell to 50.4 from March’s 51.6 on a 100-point scale on which numbers above 50 show an expansion in activity.

“The slower growth of manufacturing activities in April confirmed a fragile growth recovery of the Chinese economy as external demand deteriorated,” HSBC economist Qu Hongbin (屈宏斌) said in a statement.

China’s economic growth suffered an unexpected slowdown in the first three months of the year, declining to 7.7 percent from the previous quarter’s 7.9 percent.

Analysts have warned the shaky recovery in China could be vulnerable if trade or investment weakens.

A separate survey released on Wednesday by an industry group, the China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing, also showed manufacturing growth weakening. The group’s PMI fell to 50.6 from March’s 50.9.

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