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Housing prices rise as policies prove effective

New home prices continued to rise moderately in all tiered Chinese cities in June, as policies to ensure stability in the domestic residential market remained effective, according to official data released yesterday.Prices in the four first-tier cities rose an average 0.2 percent from a month ago, compared with the 0.3 percent growth registered in May. Beijing was the only gateway that saw a dip of 0.1 percent from a month ago while in Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen, new home prices rose 0.3 percent, 0.3 percent and 0.5 percent, respectively, said the National Bureau of Statistics, which monitors price changes in 70 major cities around the country.In 31 second-tier cities, prices climbed an average 0.8 percent last month, the same pace as in May and April. In smaller third-tier cities, they edged up to an average 0.7 percent from a month ago, 0.1 percentage point slower than May.New home prices in Luoyang in Henan Province recorded the biggest month-over-month increase of 2.5 percent, while Yichang in Hubei Province recorded the largest retreat of 0.4 percent, according to the bureau.In the existing housing market, prices in the four first-tier cities were unchanged from a month ago, compared with the 0.1 percent increase in May. Prices dipped 0.1 percent in both Shanghai and Shenzhen and stayed flat in Beijing and Guangzhou.Prices rose 0.3 percent in second-tier cities, easing from 0.5 percent growth in May. In third-tier cities, they were up 0.7 percent, accelerating from a 0.6 percent increase registered a month ago.“In June, on a month-over-month basis, the number of cities recording price decreases rose in both new and pre-occupied housing markets, evidence of further cooled sentiment among buyers,” said Lu Wenxi, senior research manager of Shanghai Centaline Property Consultants Co.Nationwide, new home prices in five cities fell from a month ago, an increase of three from May. In the existing home market, 20 cities suffered a retreat in prices, an increase of nine from a month ago.Buyer sentiment continued to soften in China in the first half of this year, the bureau said in a separate report.Between January and June, about 6.13 trillion yuan (US$889 billion) worth of new homes, excluding government-subsidized affordable housing, were sold across the country, an increase of 8.4 percent from the same period a year ago. That was down from the 8.9 percent gain in the first five months.The area of new homes sold in the first six months totaled 662 million square meters, a year-on-year dip of 1 percent. That compared with the 0.7 percent decline registered in the first five months, data from the bureau showed.
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