China home prices rise for 3rd month in August-survey
BEIJING, Sept 3
BEIJING, Sept 3 (Reuters) - Average home prices in China's 100 big cities edged up for the third straight month in August though the pace of increases slowed, a private survey showed, suggesting that government calls to maintain strict controls on the property market are working.
Average home prices rose 0.2 percent to 8,738 yuan ($1,400) per square metre in August, moderating from July's month-on-month increase of 0.3 percent, the China Real Estate Index System (CREIS) said on Monday.
In China's top 10 cities, including Beijing and Shanghai, average home price rose 0.5 percent from July, but were down 1.5 percent from a year ago, the survey showed.
Still, rising home prices will add to a debate on whether Beijing will further tighten controls over the property market at a time when China's economy is trapped in its worst slowdown in three years.
Eight inspection teams sent by Beijing in late July to check whether property controls are enforced across China found home prices in danger of rebounding in some cities, leading Beijing to remind local governments to limit home purchases as ordered.
"Under the central government's policy surveillance and restrictions, the month-on-month rise in home prices slowed in August," said CREIS, a consultant affiliated to China's largest online real estate firm Soufun Holdings.
Slower monthly gains suggest property developers are setting new home prices at "reasonable" levels and that home prices are generally stable, CREIS added.
Compared to a year ago, however, home prices in the 100 cities are still down 1.6 percent in August, the fifth month of year-on-year declines since June 2011, when CREIS began calculating year-on-year changes.
The Chinese government is due to publish August home prices in 70 major Chinese cities on September 18. Home prices rose 0.1 percent in July from June, a second month of modest uptick. ($1 = 6.3484 Chinese yuan) (Reporting By Xiaoyi Shao and Koh Gui Qing; Editing by Kim Coghill)
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