China home prices rise for 9th month in Feb - survey

BEIJING, March 1 Fri Mar 1, 2013 1:01am EST

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BEIJING, March 1 (Reuters) - Average home prices in China's 100 biggest cities rose for the ninth straight month in February although the pace of increase slowed, a private survey showed on Friday, amid talk of fresh policy measures to curb housing inflation.

Average home prices in February climbed 0.8 percent from January to 9,893 yuan ($1,600) per square metre, said the China Real Estate System (CREIS), a consultancy affiliated with China's largest online real estate company Soufun Holdings .

The pace, however, moderated from January's month-on-month increase of 1 percent, it said.

The survey also showed home prices rose 2.5 percent in February from a year ago, more than doubling January's 1.2 percent annual pace and marking the third straight month of year-on-year increase.

Rising home prices have reignited concerns about property inflation and analysts say local governments may announce plans to tighten property purchases after Beijing reiterated its pledge to calm the house market.

Average home prices in China's top 10 cities, including Beijing and Shanghai, rose 1.1 percent in February from January and were up 4.3 percent from a year ago, according to CREIS.

Home prices started to rebound in mid-2012 as the central bank began to expand monetary easing as part of Beijing's growth-supporting policies.

China's fight against property speculation has headed into its third year, but high housing prices are still far beyond the reach of ordinary Chinese. ($1 = 6.2213 Chinese yuan) (Reporting By Xiaoyi Shao and Kevin Yao; Editing by Jeremy Laurence)

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