China home prices rise on year, snap 8-mth losing streak-survey

BEIJING Fri Jan 4, 2013 12:34am EST

BEIJING Jan 4 (Reuters) - Average home prices in China's 100 major cities edged up 0.03 percent in December from a year earlier, snapping eight months of decline and reinforcing signs of a recovery in the property market, a private-sector survey showed on Friday.

The data from China Real Estate Index System (CREIS) added to evidence that the property market has found support from broad monetary policy easing aimed at reviving economic growth, despite central government pledges to maintain curbs specific to the property sector.

Rising home prices could reignite official concerns about property inflation and trigger fresh property curbs.

The increase in property prices coincides with signs of a broadening economic recovery, as two purchasing managers' surveys this week showed the pace of growth in the manufacturing sector quickening.

"There is a low possibility of a sharp rise in home prices nationally in 2013, since the destocking process has not finished," CREIS, a consultancy affiliated to Soufun Holdings , China's largest online real estate company, said in a statement.

Although the survey marked the first increase in prices over a year earlier for some months, it also showed the seventh straight monthly increase. Average home prices in the 100 largest cities rose 0.2 percent in December from November.

In the 10 biggest cities, including Beijing and Shanghai, average home prices rose 0.5 percent from November and were up 1.1 percent from a year ago, the second year-on-year increase in 2012.

China's fight against property speculation has headed into its third year, but middle-class Chinese still feel priced out of the urban housing market.

A recent uptick in land costs - typically a prelude to home price rises - have changed market sentiment and pushed prospective home buyers back to the market in a bid to buy before prices rise even further.

The Chinese government is due to publish December home prices in 70 major cities on January 18. Home prices rose 0.3 percent in November from the previous month, after a 0.05 percent rise in October, official data showed. (Reporting By Xiaoyi Shao and Lucy Hornby; Editing by Neil Fullick)

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