China Home Prices Fall in Fewer Cities in Slight Recovery

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China’s home prices dropped in fewer cities last month as demand got a boost from the removal of property curbs and three interest-rate cuts since November.

New-home prices fell in 47 of the 70 cities tracked by the government from a month earlier, the National Bureau of Statistics said Monday, compared with declines in 49 in March. Prices rose in 18 cities, including Beijing and Shanghai, six more than last month, and were unchanged in five, according to the statement on the website.

China eased mortgage policies and down-payment requirements for some homebuyers at the end of March, adding to easing measures since September to aid an industry that has been weighing on economic growth. Home sales rose for the first time this year in April, showing “signs of a recovery,” the bureau said last week.

“There is a slight recovery since the loosening of property policies and the monetary environment,” said Yang Zhao, Hong Kong-based chief China economist at Nomura Holdings Inc. “Sales are gradually stabilizing with prices rebounding in first-tier cities and some leading second-tier cities.”

Prices are still declining on a year-on-year basis. They fell in 69 cities in April after falling in all 70 cities in March.

Beijing, Shanghai

New-home prices in Shenzhen rose 1.8 percent from a month earlier, the fifth consecutive monthly increase, according to the data on Monday. Prices gained 0.7 percent in Beijing, 0.6 percent in Shanghai and rose in Guangzhou for the first time this year.

Existing-home prices dropped last month in 34 cities from the previous month, compared with 48 in March. They rose in 28 cities and were unchanged in eight.

The average new-home price in 100 cities tracked by SouFun Holdings Ltd. slid 0.01 percent in April from the previous month, a slower pace than the 0.15 percent drop in March, as developers tapped a favorable policy environment to trim inventories, according to China’s biggest property website owner.

The People’s Bank of China on March 30 lowered to 40 percent from 60 percent the minimum down payment required of second-home buyers who are still repaying their first mortgage. The government also exempted some homeowners from paying a 5.5 percent sales tax if they sell after two years, down from five years previously.

The majority of third- and fourth-tier cities are still seeing falling prices, according to the statement that accompanied the figures from the statistics bureau.

— With assistance by Emma Dong

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