* China Jan new home prices +0.8 pct on year, +0.7 pct on
* New home prices rise in 53 of 70 cities vs 54 in Dec on
* Home price inflation quickens
BEIJING, Feb 22 China's new home prices rose an
average of 0.8 percent in January from a year earlier, snapping
10 months of decline and raising the risk Beijing may seek to
bolster a three-year campaign to curb property inflation.
Home prices in 70 major cities across China rose an average
of 0.7 percent in January from the previous month, after a 0.4
percent rise in December, according to Reuters' calculations
from data released by the National Bureau of Statistics.
China's cabinet on Wednesday restated intentions to extend a
pilot property-tax programme to more cities and urged local
authorities again to put price-control targets on new homes, in
a fresh bid to calm frothy real estate markets.
Many investors expect Beijing imminently to announce new
measures to temper stubbornly high house prices that have
largely defied cooling efforts so far, and rumours of fresh
curbs had hit equities in Hong Kong and China over the last few
Liu Jianwei, a senior statistician at the NBS, played down
the risk of a sustained surge in prices in a separate statement
published on Friday.
"With the government's property measures being effectively
implemented, the upward home price pressure seen starting from
the fourth quarter of last year is expected to fade and there is
no basis for home prices to experience an overall big rebound,"
Real estate, which directly impacts around 40 other business
sectors in China, is a key driver in the world's second-largest
economy, which is recovering from its worst annual downturn in
China's government has spent three years implementing
policies to rein in speculative real estate activity but home
prices are still beyond the reach of many middle class citizens,
fuelling social discontent.
POLICY TIGHTENING RISKS
A Reuters poll in December showed economists expect a 7.0
percent increase in house prices in 2013 and a rise of 5.0
percent in 2014 due to a reviving economy and strong housing
"The rebound is to a large extent driven by loose monetary
policy," said Zhang Zhiwei, chief China economist at Nomura in
Hong Kong. "We expect the rebound of property prices will force
the government to tighten monetary policy in coming months, and
(money supply) growth will decline."
Home prices rose month-on-month in 53 of 70 major cities
monitored by the NBS in January, just down from 54 in December,
the NBS data showed, and confirming signs of a gradual rebound
in the property market.
The NBS also said new home prices in Beijing rose 3.3
percent in January from the previous year - more than double
December's rise of 1.6 percent. Shanghai prices gained 1.3
percent on the year in January. They were flat in December.
The official Shanghai Securities Journal has reported
China's tier 1 cities including Beijing may introduce fresh
property-tightening measures soon to curb strong housing demand.
China's home prices began their latest climb in mid-2012 as
the People's Bank of China, the central bank, began easing
monetary policy to underpin faltering economic growth.
Reuters started its weighted China home price index in
January 2011 when the NBS stopped providing nationwide data. The
NBS now only publishes price changes for each of the 70 major
(Reporting by Aileen Wang and Nick Edwards; Editing by Eric
Meijer and John Mair)