China Home Prices Rose in Fewest Cities in 11 Months Amid Curbs

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  • Prices gained in 46 cities in December, versus 55 in November
  • Some smaller cities expanded home-buying curbs last month

Curbs Cool China Property Prices in December

China home prices increased last month in the fewest cities since January last year, signaling property curbs to deflate a potential housing bubble are taking effect.

New-home prices, excluding government-subsidized housing, gained last month in 46 of the 70 cities tracked by the government, compared with 55 in November, the National Bureau of Statistics said Wednesday. Prices dropped in four cities, in line with a month earlier. They were unchanged in 20 cities.

China’s government is encouraging city-specific policies to address a two-speed property market, with some big cities in the grip of a housing bubble while smaller cities struggle to clear a glut of unsold properties. Since December, local governments have stepped up buying restrictions in Zhengzhou, Wuhan and Xi’an, and further raised down-payment requirements for first and second homes in Tianjin.

New-home prices in Shenzhen, the nation’s hottest market early last year, fell 0.4 percent in December from November, the third straight monthly decline, the data showed. Prices in Beijing and Shanghai dropped 0.1 and 0.2 percent respectively, after snapping a 20-month streak of gains in November. Values in Guangzhou added 0.7 percent.

“Overall the market is cooling down, even as sales volumes didn’t contract as much as we expected,” Alan Jin, a property analyst at Mizuho Securities Asia Ltd. in Hong Kong, said before the report was released. “It will take time, probably several months, for buyers to feel the gradual crunch of liquidity.”

President Xi Jinping and his top economic policy makers are pledging prudent and neutral monetary policy and greater focus on deflating asset bubbles as they work to ensure stability in the lead up to a twice-a-decade Communist Party congress later this year, when members of the nation’s top leadership committee are expected to be replaced.

— With assistance by Emma Dong

(Adds city prices in fourth paragraph.)
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