China’s August Home Prices Rise Amid Land Sales, SouFun Says

China’s new home prices jumped in August by the most since December amid a recovery in land sales and some easing of policies by local governments, SouFun Holdings Ltd. said.

Prices surged 8.6 percent last month from a year earlier, to 10,442 yuan ($1,706) per square meter (10.76 square feet), SouFun said in an e-mailed statement after a survey of 100 cities. Year-on-year prices began rising in December, when they climbed 0.03 percent after a 0.46 percent drop in November.

China will seek stable and healthy development of the real estate market, the government said after a meeting led by President Xi Jinping in July, prompting speculation that it may relax property curbs. Former Premier Wen Jiabao in March stepped up a three-year campaign to cool home prices, ordering the central bank to raise down-payment requirements for second mortgages in cities with excessive cost gains.

“Buyers are expecting home prices to rise further after seeing a series of land sold at record prices, while the government didn’t take much action on this,” Alan Jin, a Hong Kong-based property analyst at Mizuho Securities Asia Ltd., said.

Home prices may rise more in September and October, the traditional peak property sales season, Jin said.

Record Price

Beijing sold a 75,360-square-meter luxury residential land parcel on July 23 for a record price of 2.36 billion yuan, according to realtor Bacic & 5i5j Group. Shanghai on July 3 sold the most expensive plot in the city this year, a 79,500-square-meter site, for 4.9 billion yuan to developers including China Vanke Co.

Some buyers, who had waited expecting prices to fall, entered the market recently because some cities started easing property policies, SouFun, the nation’s biggest real estate website owner, said in the statement.

China is facing “relatively large” pressure for property prices to rebound, the official People’s Daily newspaper reported on its microblog on Aug. 28, citing the National Development and Reform Commission’s Chairman Xu Shaoshi.

Prices in the country’s 10 major cities rose 12 percent in August from last year, SouFun said. Home values in the southern business hub of Guangzhou soared 24 percent from last year, while in the capital Beijing they jumped 22 percent, it said.

Some smaller cities have already started easing some of the policies designed to restrain price gains. The eastern city of Wenzhou is “fine tuning” its home purchase restrictions by allowing second-home purchases by some local residents, the official Xinhua News Agency reported on Aug. 15, citing a local housing bureau official. Yancheng in Jiangsu province suspended limits on housing prices as the supply of homes increased, the official People’s Daily newspaper reported on July 23.

The eastern city of Wuhu in Anhui province led month-on-month declines among the 100 cities in the SouFun survey, falling 2.3 percent from July.

China’s home prices rose 0.92 percent in August from July, compared with a 0.87 monthly gain last month, SouFun said.

— With assistance by Bonnie Cao

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