September 2, 2014 / 4:41 AM / 3 years ago

Chinese home prices drop again in August -surveys

BEIJING, Sept 2 (Reuters) - Chinese home prices fell again in August from the previous month, two private surveys showed, suggesting the housing market was slowing further despite efforts by the authorities to lift the sector.

Prices of new homes in 288 cities fell 0.3 percent in August from July, the fifth consecutive drop on a monthly basis, a poll by real estate services firm E-House China Holdings Ltd showed.

Compared to a year before, home prices in August were still up 3 percent, although that was slightly lower than July’s 4.3 percent annual increase. It was the 10th straight month that annual property price inflation had eased.

A separate survey by China Real Estate Index System (CREIS)showed average prices in 100 of the biggest cities fell 0.6 percent in August from July, the fourth monthly drop in a row according to its figures.

However, home prices were still up 3 percent in August compared with a year before, CREIS said, although the increase was smaller than July’s 4.7 percent.

“The property market was in a downtrend in August,” said CREIS, a consultancy linked to China’s largest property data provider, Soufun Holdings.

“With the peak season for supply coming in September and October, developers’ promotions and more reasonable prices will attract home buyers to enter the market,” CREIS said.

After a strong performance in 2013, China’s real estate market has softened. Sales have slowed, new construction has dropped off sharply and banks have turned more cautious about lending to developers and home buyers.

More than 30 regional governments, which earn a large part of their revenue from selling state land, have openly or quietly relaxed home purchase restrictions this year, according to data from private consultants.

Official data showed China’s home prices slipped 0.9 percent in July from June but were still up 2.5 percent from a year earlier.

The government is due to publish its August property price data for 70 of the biggest Chinese cities on Sept. 18. (Reporting By Xiaoyi Shao and Koh Gui Qing; Editing by Alan Raybould)

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