China's home prices rise 0.2 pct in Feb from Jan

March 19 (Reuters) - New home prices in China’s 70 major cities rose at a slightly slower pace in February from the previous month, following a range of government curbs aimed at tempering speculative demand.

Average new home prices in China’s 70 major cities rose 0.2 percent in February from the previous month, compared with an increase of 0.3 percent in January, Reuters calculated from National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) data out on Monday.

New home prices rose 5.2 percent in February versus a year earlier, picking up from a 5.0 percent increase in January.

China’s home prices have slowly levelled out in the big cities in recent months while some smaller cities are still seeing appreciable rises despite the increasingly stringent cooling measures.

Policymakers are focusing in 2018 on stable property market development, aiming to keep residential properties for habitation, not speculation, Chinese premier Li Keqiang said earlier this month. (Reporting by Beijing newsroom; Editing by Sam Holmes)