BEIJING, April 18 (Xinhua) -- Housing prices remained largely stable in major Chinese cities in March amid the government's tough purchase restrictions, official data showed Wednesday.
As the government maintained purchase restrictions aimed at containing speculative demand, new home prices softened in the country's first-tier cities, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).
New home prices in first-tier cities declined 0.6 percent year on year last month, while prices of existing houses in these cities went down 0.1 percent year on year.
The property market in second-tier cities is also showing signs of slower growth, with the year-on-year growth of new home prices sliding 0.2 percentage points from a month earlier.
New home prices went down on a yearly basis in nine of the 15 major cities considered the "hottest markets." On a month-on-month basis, new home prices fell in 7 of the 15 cities, while Tianjin and Hefei saw home prices flat with February.
"Housing prices were generally stable as market controls have continued to take effect," said NBS statistician Liu Jianwei.
During previous years, rocketing house prices, especially in major cities, had fueled concerns about asset bubbles. To curb speculation, local governments rolled out or expanded their restrictions on house purchases and increased the minimum downpayment required for a mortgage.
This year's government work report reiterated that "houses are for living in, not for speculation."
"We will support people in buying homes for personal use, and develop the housing rental market and shared ownership housing," it said.