China home prices rise for 4th month in September-survey

BEIJING Tue Oct 9, 2012 12:56am EDT

BEIJING Oct 9 (Reuters) - Average home prices in China's 100 big cities edged up for a fourth straight month in September, a private survey showed, reinforcing signs of a mild recovery as the government seeks to boost growth while avoiding a real estate bubble.

Average home prices rose 0.17 percent to 8,753 yuan ($1,400)per square metre in September, moderating from August's month-on-month increase of 0.24 percent, the China Real Estate Index System (CREIS) said.

A steady rise in home prices will, however, renew concerns about property inflation that could prompt Beijing to further tighten property controls in the run-up to a once-a-decade leadership transition this year.

Property prices flared up after the central bank cut interest rates twice in June and July to restore momentum to the world's second largest economy.

A housing ministry official said last month that Beijing will stick to its tight property sector policies to curb price rises, and a nationwide rebound remains unlikely.

"Seeing no let-up in property controls, most developers have launched more new projects and set home prices cautiously in September," said CREIS, a consultant affiliated to China's largest online real estate firm Soufun Holdings.

Compared to a year ago, however, home prices in the 100 cities are still down 1.4 percent in September, the sixth month of year-on-year declines since June 2011, when CREIS began calculating year-on-year changes.

In China's top 10 cities, including Beijing and Shanghai, average home prices rose 0.22 percent from August, but were down 1.35 percent from a year ago, the survey showed.

The Chinese government is due to publish September home prices in 70 major Chinese cities on October 18. Home prices in these cities rose 0.1 percent in August from July, extending a modest increase into a second straight month.

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