BEIJING, April 15 China's residential land price
gains slowed for the first time in nearly two years in the first
quarter, and are likely to slow further in the second quarter,
the land ministry said on Tuesday, another indication the
property market is losing steam.
The average price of land for residential homes rose 2.1
percent to 5,139 yuan ($830) per square metre in 105 major
cities in the first quarter from the previous quarter, according
to a report released by the China Land Surveying and Planning
Institute, a research unit under the ministry.
That marks a slowdown from a gain of 2.6 percent in the
fourth quarter of 2013 and the first easing since the second
quarter of 2012.
The slowdown, a prelude to easing home prices, adds to
evidence that China's red-hot property market has lost some
steam since late 2013 as local governments tightened controls on
speculative buying, and as banks made it harder for home buyers
and small developers to get loans.
The institute said the easing trend is likely to be
sustained in the second quarter as the broader economy still
faces "relatively big" downward pressures.
"Land prices will probably stop rising or begin to drop in
some cities in the second quarter," it said in the report on its
Compared with a year earlier, land prices for residential
homes still rose 9.5 percent in the quarter, quickening from
last quarter's 9.0 percent annual growth, it added.
Other official figures have shown that China's home price
rises slowed to a six-month low in February as some developers
started to cut prices. Data for March will be
released later this week.
A recent Reuters poll showed that China's home price
inflation is likely to slow in 2014 compared with the previous
year, while some small cities plagued with oversupply might see
a price correction.
($1 = 6.2191 Chinese yuan)
(Reporting By Xiaoyi Shao and Koh Gui Qing; Editing by Chris