China's Dec home prices up 6.6% y/y, slowest growth since July 2018

BEIJING, Jan 16 (Reuters) - China’s new home prices rose 0.3% in December month-on-month, unchanged from the pace in November, Reuters calculated from official National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) data on Thursday.

On an annual basis, average new home prices in China’s 70 major cities rose 6.6% in December, down from 7.1% in November, and the slowest year-on-year pace since July 2018.

China has clamped down on property speculation since 2016 to stop home prices from overheating. But with the pace of economic growth slowing, policymakers are careful not to overly stifle the property market - a pillar of the broader economy.

Beijing has been calling instead for the adoption of city-based policies to foster market stability. Analysts say any sharp drop in home prices would likely not be tolerated by local governments. (Reporting by Lusha Zhang, Yawen Chen and Ryan Woo; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)