China's real estate sector warmed further in December, with more major cities reporting month-on-month rises in new home prices.
Of the 70 large and medium-sized cities surveyed in December, new home prices climbed month on month in 39, up from 33 in the previous month, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said Monday. Meanwhile, 27 reported month-on-month price declines, level with November, according to NBS data.
On a yearly basis, 21 cities posted new home price increases and 49 reported falls, the same with that in November. New home prices soared 47.5 percent year on year in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen, the sharpest increase last month among the country's major cities, while the steepest decline was registered by the northeastern city of Dandong, where prices dropped 5.3 percent.
"Home prices remained markedly divergent in different cities due to varied market conditions," said NBS senior statistician Liu Jianwei. While top-tier cities and some second-tier cities saw fast price increases month-on-month, most at the third tier were still in the trough with high inventories, Liu said. The divergence is more apparent on a yearly basis, he said.
Prices for existing homes remained weak in December, with 37 cities reporting higher month-on-month prices and 24 cities reporting lower prices, compared with 40 and 16 in November respectively.
In December, the 70 surveyed cities recorded an average year-on-year price increase of 7.7 percent for new homes and 7.6 percent for existing home prices, according to Liu. The growth rates were up 1.2 percentage points and 1.4 percentage points respectively from November.
The Chinese government has introduced a slew of measures to support the property sector after weakening sales and investment have dragged on the economy. Property investment accounts for nearly one-fifth of China's total investment and affects more than 40 other industries ranging from steel and cement to furniture.
Its growth fell to 1.3 percent for the January-November period from double-digit rises regularly reported until 2014. To prop up the market, authorities have cut interest rates, eased down payment requirements and rolled back restrictions on home purchases in some cities.