Home Prices Still Falling as Curbs Continue to Take Effect


HOME prices in China fell for the sixth straight month in February as government measures to cool the domestic property market continue to work.

Prices fell an average of 0.3 percent from January, the largest drop since last September, to 8,767 yuan (US$1,391) per square meter in 100 major cities across the country, according to the China Index Academy.

Prices fell in 72 cities, compared to 60 in January, the academy said, with 17 seeing falls of more than 1 percent, compared to 15 the previous month.

Gains were posted in 27 cities while one city saw prices remaining the same.

"We expect prices to drop in more cities and find more notable discounts available across the country at least until the end of the first half of this year," said Sky Xue, an analyst at China Real Estate Information Corp. "Therefore, average home prices should continue to head south over the next few months."

The average cost of homes in the 10 largest cities, which include Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou, fell 0.31 percent from a month earlier to 15,516 yuan per square meter in February, with Chengdu suffering the largest drop of more than 1 percent. It was followed by Beijing where prices dropped 0.61 percent from January.

Year on year, prices in the 10 largest cities fell by an average of 1.41 percent last month, compared to a drop of 0.62 percent in January, which registered the first annual drop since June 2010.

"With tightening measures still strictly in place, more and more developers around the country have adopted a 'price-for-volume' strategy in order to trigger sales, particularly in the mid to low-end segment," said Huang Hetao, a research manager at Century 21 China Real Estate. "Moreover, sluggish sales in luxury residential properties also helped bring down average home prices."

In Shanghai, for example, 109 new homes with a price tag of more than 50,000 yuan per square meter were sold this year as of Wednesday, a drop of more than 65 percent from same period a year earlier.


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