* Dec home prices up 9.9 pct y/y, unchanged from Nov's
* Month-on-month gains ease on govt curbs
* Beijing price gains slow for a second month
* Price gains seen moderating in 2014 -analysts
(Adds comments, details)
BEIJING, Jan 18 China's home prices continued to
surge in December, though the pace of gains overall did not
exceed the previous month's and rises eased in some major
cities, suggesting that government tightening measures may be
starting to bite.
Home prices in many Chinese cities have continued to set
records in the past year despite a four-year long government
campaign to cool the market, adding to the threat of a price
bubble and forcing some local governments into a fresh round of
curbs in November.
Average new home prices in 70 major Chinese cities climbed
0.4 percent in December on the month, easing from November's 0.5
percent and the fourth straight slowdown since August's 0.8
percent gain, according to Reuters calculations from data
released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) on Saturday.
"The slower home price gains in December showed recent curbs
unveiled by local governments in tier-1 and some tier-2 cities
have started to stabilise market expectations gradually," said
Liu Jianwei, a senior statistician at NBS, in a statement
accompanying the data.
Under pressure to rein in a red-hot housing market, many
local governments have rolled out targeted measures to cool
fast-rising property prices, including raising minimum down
payments for second homes and promising to supply more land for
building residential properties.
Prices in the capital Beijing rose 16 percent in December
from a year ago, easing slightly from November's year-on-year
increase of 16.3 percent, and the second month of slowing gains
after a record jump in October.
In the southern cities of Guangzhou and Shenzhen, gains
eased to 20.1 percent and 19.9 percent respectively from 20.7
percent and 20.6 percent in November, their first slowdown this
STILL HIGH, NO EASING OF CURBS
Still, the government measures are yet to significantly curb
buyer appetite and property inflation.
The NBS data showed nationwide new home prices rose 9.9
percent in December from a year ago, the 12th consecutive annual
rise and the same as the previous month's record gain.
The relentless rise of home prices suggests Beijing won't
let up on its tightening measures anytime soon.
China's housing minister said in December the government
would maintain controls on the property market in 2014 while
increasing land and housing supply in cities facing big
More recently, local media reported on Monday the land
ministry plans to form a nationwide property registry database,
seen as a precursor to any country-wide expansion of property
taxes, which have been on trial in Shanghai and Chongqing since
However, efforts to get the database up and running have
faced resistance from local governments and groups with vested
China's property values have surged over 20 percent in the
past four years, underscoring worries of a property bubble and
social unrest as millions of first-home buyers are priced out of
Policy makers want to avoid a sharp slowdown in the property
market as real estate is a bright spot in a slowing economy. The
sector supports some 40 other industries and generates about 16
percent of the country's $8.5 trillion gross domestic product.
The next several months will probably shed more light on
whether Beijing has done enough to tame the market. Analysts say
China's home price rises are likely to moderate in 2014 thanks
to increased supply and impact of government measures.
A vibrant market for land sales in 2013 is also expected to
translate into a surge in home supply this year, helping put the
brakes on home prices gains.
The amount of new land supplied for residential property
development hit a record high of 138,200 hectares in 2013, up 25
percent on the year, data from the Ministry of Land and
A Reuters poll in November had also predicted a slowdown in
house price growth, with analysts forecasting a rise of 5.0
percent this year after a predicted 10 percent in 2013.
Reuters started its weighted China home price index in
January 2011 when the NBS stopped providing nationwide data,
only giving home price changes in each of 70 major cities.
(Reporting By Xiaoyi Shao and Jonathan Standing; Editing by