China land prices slump in some cities in Q4-radio

BEIJING Sun Jan 15, 2012 5:46am EST

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BEIJING Jan 15 (Reuters) - The price of land for building homes in China continued to fall in the last three months in more than a third of its cities compared with the previous quarter, and will probably continue to head south in the next few months, state radio reported on Sunday.

They also fell in several cities compared with a year ago, it added, as Beijing's two-year campaign to head off a market bubble in the real estate market resulted in falling transactions and prices that forced developers to halt their expansion.

"The sluggish residential property land market will continue, at least in the first quarter of 2012," the radio cited Zhao Song, head of a research institute under the Ministry of Land and Resources, as saying.

Her institute tracks land prices in 105 Chinese cities and publish reports quarterly.

The radio did not say by how much land prices fell in the fourth quarter of last year compared with the third. The average price dropped 0.5 percent in the third quarter.

Land prices fell in cities along the Yangtze and Pearl river deltas, the regions most affected by the weakening external demand, the radio said. But prices rose in China's third- and even fourth-tier cities.

"Money is flowing from big cities to places with still underpriced land markets," Zhao added.

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