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Urban housing market loses steam in September

Cao Qian
Home prices increased at a slower pace last month compared with August, official data shows. Xuzhou in Jiangsu Province rose the fastest, up 1.4 percent.
Cao Qian

Residential prices in all-tier Chinese cities rose at a slower pace in September compared with a month ago, according to data released on Tuesday by the National Bureau of Statistics.

In the four gateway cities, new home prices increased 0.4 percent, easing from August's average gain of 0.6 percent. Guangzhou continued to stay at the top with a 0.6 percent rise, while Shanghai, Shenzhen and Beijing followed with month-over-month increases of 0.5 percent, 0.4 percent and 0.3 percent, respectively, according to the bureau, which tracks prices in 70 major Chinese cities.

"It seems that the market lost some of its steam last month with the number of cities seeing major price growth dropping significantly from a month ago," said Lu Wenxi, senior researcher at Shanghai Centaline Property Consultants Co. "According to our calculation, only two cities registered month-over-month price increases of 1 percent and above, which was in sharp contrast to 14 cities in August."

In the pre-occupied housing market, prices in the four top-tier cities rose 0.9 percent on average, down from 1 percent in the previous month. They jumped most in Shenzhen, with growth of 1.1 percent, and climbed 1 percent, 0.7 percent and 0.4 percent in Shanghai, Guangzhou and Beijing, respectively.

In 31 second-tier and 35 third-tier cities, new home prices rose by an average of 0.3 percent and 0.5 percent, decelerating from the growth of 0.6 percent and 1 percent in August, respectively. Prices of existing homes in second- and third-tier cities advanced 0.2 percent and 0.6 percent, easing 0.2 percentage points and remaing unchanged from a month earlier.

Nationwide, new home prices in Xuzhou in Jiangsu Province rose the fastest, up 1.4 percent from August, the bureau data showed.

On a year-over-year basis, prices of new and existing homes rose 3.9 percent and 7.4 percent in the four first-tier cities, remaining flat and accelerating by 0.5 percentage points from August, respectively. New home prices gained 4.8 percent in second-tier cities and 4.4 percent in third-tier ones, both easing from a month earlier. Costs of pre-occupied homes added 2 percent in second-tier cities and rose 1.7 percent in third-tier ones.

On the sales side, strong momentum among new home buyers extended for another month across the country.

In the first nine months of 2020, more than 10.35 trillion yuan (US$1.54 trillion) worth of new homes, excluding government-subsidized affordable housing, were sold around the country, a year-on-year increase of 6.2 percent, according to a separate statement released earlier on Monday by the bureau. That accelerated from the 4.1 percent growth registered in the first eight months.

By area, new homes sold during the January-September period fell 1 percent, recovering continuously from the 2.5 percent decrease recorded during the first eight months.

On the investment side, meanwhile, real estate developers around the country earmarked more than 7.65 trillion yuan during the first three quarters for housing development, a year-on-year increase of 6.1 percent, further accelerating from the 5.3 percent rise recorded in the first eight months, the bureau's data showed.

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