China’s Home Prices Rise Most in Six Years as Sales Gain

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China Home Prices Rose in More Cities in August
  • New-home prices gained in 64 cities in August vs 51 in July
  • Price growth may lead to further curbs on housing purchases

Chinese home prices rose the most in more than six years last month, suggesting local government efforts to avert a housing bubble are having only a limited effect.

New-home prices, excluding government-subsidized housing, in August gained in 64 of the 70 cities the government tracks, compared with 51 in July, the National Bureau of Statistics said Monday. Prices fell in four cities, compared with 16 a month earlier, and were unchanged in two.

Average new-home prices in the 70 cities rose 1.2 percent in August from July, the biggest increase since January 2010, according to Bloomberg calculations based on the government data. The value of home sales jumped 33 percent last month from a year earlier, the fastest pace in four months.

The jump in home prices comes in spite of lending curbs which have spread from major cities such as Shanghai and Shenzhen to regional hubs. That may may lead to further restrictions as policymakers become increasingly concerned about averting an asset bubble, said Xia Dan, a Shanghai-based analyst at Bank of Communications Co.

Hangzhou, Zhejiang’s provincial capital, on Sunday halted home sales to some non-local residents, adding to similar restrictions introduced last month in Suzhou and Xiamen. China’s top leaders, after a Politburo meeting led by President Xi Jinping, in July pledged to curb asset bubbles amid a renewed focus on financial stability.

All-Round Gains

“Price growth accelerated in cities all of tiers,” the statistics bureau said in a statement released with the data. Almost half of the cities where prices increased had larger gains than in July, it added.

Prices climbed a record 4.4 percent and 3.6 percent in Shanghai and Beijing respectively, taking the year-on-year gains to 31 percent and 24 percent. Values rose 2.1 percent in Shenzhen and 2.4 percent in Guangzhou, both faster than a month earlier.

Home prices climbed the fastest in regional hubs where local authorities haven’t introduced curbs. Zhengzhou, the provincial capital of central Henan province, led gains with a 5.5 percent increase, up from a 2 percent gain in July. Prices in Wuxi, a manufacturing base in southern Jiangsu province, followed with a 4.9 percent gain, compared with 2.7 percent a month earlier.

Easy Credit

However, tightening measures by local governments are unlikely to rein in prices as long as credit remains easily attainable, said Jeffrey Gao, a Hong Kong-based property analyst at Nomura Holdings Inc. “The local curbs have limited impact as home inventory has already fallen to a low level,” Gao said. “Prices will not fall unless the government moves to tighten credit and add more land supply.”

Chinese authorities are facing a monetary policy dilemma amid “rapid” home-price growth, Zhou Hao, an economist at Commerzbank AG in Singapore, wrote in a note Monday. “The overall monetary policy should remain accommodative as inflation remains subdued and growth is still trending down. However, concern about an asset bubble will limit room for further easing.”

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— With assistance by Emma Dong

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