China’s Dec. New Home Prices Rise Most in 2013: SouFun

China’s new home prices in December jumped by the most last year even as the country’s biggest cities tightened property controls to moderate price gains.

The average price rose 12 percent from a year earlier to 10,833 yuan ($1,789) per square meter (10.76 square feet), SouFun Holdings Ltd., the nation’s biggest real estate website owner, said in an e-mailed statement yesterday based on a survey of 100 cities. Prices climbed 0.7 percent from November.

Premier Li Keqiang has refrained from adding national property curbs that could hurt economic growth, after predecessor Wen Jiabao in March stepped up a three-year campaign to rein in home prices. Almost one fifth of respondents in a Renmin University of China survey gave a zero score on the government’s property policies, indicating “near despair” on housing prices, the official China News Service reported this week, citing survey results.

“The supply shortages remain noticeable in some hotspots, and the pressure on home-price gains continues to exist” going into 2014, SouFun said in the statement.

At least 10 Chinese cities, many of them provincial capitals, have tightened local property policies since November, with major cities of Shenzhen, Shanghai and Guangzhou all raising minimum down payments for second homes to 70 percent. Beijing was the first to lift the level from 60 percent in March after Wen told cities with excessive price gains to do so.

Biggest Gain

New home prices in Shenzhen posted the biggest gain in almost three years in November, rising 21 percent from a year earlier alongside Guangzhou, according to the latest data from the National Bureau of Statistics released Dec. 18.

The city of Xiangtan in Hunan province led gains in December, with prices rising 3.5 percent from the previous month, according to SouFun data. Prices dropped 3.3 percent in Foshan located in the southern province of Guangdong, the biggest decline nationwide.

Beijing and Guangzhou posted the largest year-on-year gains among the 10 biggest cities SouFun surveyed, both rising about 28 percent. Tianjin recorded the smallest increase, with new home prices climbing 6.1 percent, according to SouFun, which didn’t provide year-on-year changes for the remaining 90 cities.

A statement issued after last month’s annual Central Economic Work conference didn’t mention real estate curbs as a policy initiative for this year. Guangzhou’s housing bureau director, Li Junfu, told the local lawmakers on Dec. 24 that the city would study gradually scrapping administrative measures such as home-purchase restrictions in 2014, Beijing News reported Dec. 26.

— With assistance by Dingmin Zhang

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