China's Home Price Growth Slows In May

China's home prices increased in fewer cities last month in the wake of cooling measures imposed by local authorities.

The average price of new homes in 70 cities rose 0.7% in May from April, excluding government-subsidized housing, according to calculations from The Wall Street Journal based on data released Monday by the National Bureau of Statistics.

There were prices gains in six of the 15 first- and second-tier cities closely monitored by the NBS, unchanged from April.

In Beijing, the scene of the nation's tightest property restrictions, prices of new homes were unchanged from the previous month, and prices of existing homes fell by 0.9 per cent, the first decline since February 2015.

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Rocketing housing prices, especially in major cities, had fueled concerns about asset bubbles.

Annual growth in China's real estate investment slowed in May, the first fall-off in three months, taking a toll on new developments as new construction starts nearly halved from the previous month, official data showed last Wednesday.

Since October of a year ago, local governments have implemented a slew of measures, including higher down payments, increased mortgage rates and tougher purchase restrictions, to rein in rising home prices and quash potential asset bubbles.

FIFTEEN Chinese cities that have the strictest tightening measures in place to curb speculation registered slower year-over-year growth in new home prices for another month in May, adding evidence that the country's hottest property markets continued to stabilize.

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Meanwhile, China's central bank has also urged banks to strengthen mortgage risk management and crack down on market irregularities such as fake divorces to skirt high down payment requirements.

On a yearly basis, house prices advanced in 69 cities in May, as seen in April. Transactions for existing homes account for four fifths of the city's total sales and are more sensitive to market changes.

Purchase restriction policies will expand to third-tier and fourth-tier cities to cope with the recent price rallies in these cities, said Zhang Dawei, a senior analyst with Centaline Property.

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