China home-price rises regain speed

BloombergMonday, March 20, 2017

SHANGHAI • China home prices rose last month in more cities despite increased restrictions on property transactions by local authorities.

New home prices, excluding subsidised housing, gained in February in 56 out of 70 cities tracked by the government, compared to 45 in January, the National Bureau of Statistics said on Saturday.

Prices climbed in 67 out of 70 cities from a year earlier, compared to 66 in January.

To cool the market, Beijing city last Friday raised downpayment requirements for second homes 10 percentage points to between 60% and 80%. The rule also applied to buyers who don’t currently own a home but previously had a mortgage with the same down-payment threshold, making it harder for someone to sell their house to upgrade to a bigger or more expensive property.

Southern export hub Guangzhou, coastal Qingdao and Nanjing in the southeast have also tightened measures. Changsha, the capital of inland Hunan province, joined the ranks on Saturday after the home price data release.

“The government intends to pause the surging home prices, and let them walk steadily up later,” said Xia Dan, a Shanghai-based analyst at Bank of Communications Co.

China’s biggest cities have seen a round of home price surges in the past year.

In Beijing, new home prices rose 24% in February from a year earlier, while Shanghai saw a 25% gain. Shenzhen prices increased 14% in the same period. — Bloomberg

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