May 15, 2020 / 2:13 AM / 14 days ago

China's Jan-April property investment falls 3.3%, sales drop nearly 20%

BEIJING, May 15 (Reuters) - Real estate investment in China fell 3.3% in the first four months of 2020 from a year earlier, official data showed on Friday, as the economy struggles to recover from the coronavirus epidemic.

But the rate of decline eased from 7.7% in January-March.

Property sales by floor area fell 19.3% from a year earlier in the first four months of the year, according to data from the National Bureau of Statistics, compared with a 26.3% drop in the first quarter.

The property market is a key driver of growth in the world’s second-largest economy, and was among many segments of the economy hit hard by the coronavirus epidemic and tough containment measures.

New construction starts measured by floor area fell 18.4% from a year earlier, compared to 27.2% in the first three months of the year.

Funds raised by China’s property developers fell 10.4% in the same period, compared with a 13.8% drop for the first three months of the year. (Reporting by Huizhong Wu and Yawen Chen; Editing by Sam Holmes and Kim Coghill)

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