China’s runaway property market cooled slightly last month, as authorities rolled out further home-buying curbs to deflate a housing bubble.
New-home prices, excluding Chinese government-subsidized housing, gained last month in 62 of the 70 cities tracked by the government, compared with 63 in September, the Chinese National Bureau of Statistics said yesterday.
Prices dropped in seven cities, compared with six a month earlier. They were unchanged in one.
Some local authorities have stepped up property curbs, following a raft of restrictions rolled out in almost two dozen cities since late September.
Eastern Hangzhou ruled more non-local buyers ineligible last week, two months after halting purchases for some non-local residents.
China’s banking regulator has told banks to review their mortgage lending and property development loans after China Minsheng Banking Corp (中國民生銀行) suspended approvals of some non-standard mortgages in Shanghai.
Home prices in first-tier and red-hot second-tier cities “apparently” stabilized in the second half of last month after those regions announced fine-tuned curbs, the statistics bureau said.
Five cities, from Beijing to Xiamen, snapped a streak of price gains, the bureau said.
New-home prices in Shenzhen, the nation’s hottest property market earlier this year, fell 0.5 percent from September, the first decline in two years, the data showed.
Prices in Beijing fell 0.4 percent in the second half of last month, and declined 0.1 percent in Shanghai.
“Buyers and developers are now taking to the sidelines, creating a standoff in the market,” said Xia Dan (夏丹), a Shanghai-based analyst at Bank of Communications Co (交通銀行).
A cooling of the property market might provide some relief to policymakers, who are seeking to avoid a housing bubble without denting economic growth. Even amid curbs in major cities, property development investment rose 13 percent from a year earlier last month, the most since at least last year, according to Bloomberg calculations based on official data released on Monday last week.
New housing starts, an early indicator of real-estate investment, gained 20 percent from a year earlier, the biggest increase since April.
The Chinese Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development has stepped up oversight of rogue players since early last month, investigating developers and agents for alleged false advertising, urging probes on “illegal” sales and cracking down on investment by online finance and peer-to-peer lenders.
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