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Wednesday, November 19, 2014, 09:22

Apartment price falls ease in Oct

By Zheng Yangpeng
Apartment price falls ease in Oct

A housing exposition in Shenyang, Liaoning province, which opened on Friday. Home sales by floor space in the first 10 months dropped 9.5 percent from a year ago in the 70 cities monitored by the National Bureau of Statistics. (Yao Jianfeng / Xinhua)

The latest property data for October, released by the National Bureau of Statistics, have provided the first evidence of a slowdown in falling house prices since the introduction of government measures in September to stimulate the market.

The statistics still showed that new home prices dropped month-on-month in 69 of the 70 cities monitored, but the largest price fall was 1.6 percent, compared with the 1.9 percent largest fall in September. The only city to show prices unchanged was Zhengzhou, the capital of Henan province.

The figures mirror other recently released private-sector data. The China Real Estate Index System, a price system run by SouFun Holdings Ltd, for instance, showed that the average price in 100 cities it monitored slipped for the sixth month running in October, by 0.4 percent compared with the previous month's 0.92 percent fall.

Government measures aimed at growing the pool of potential homebuyers were introduced on Sept 30. These included improving the availability of mortgages andmortgage terms for first-time homebuyers, and also for second-time buyers who have fully repaid their first mortgage.

According to the latest NBS data, the falling numbers of house sales also moderated in October, with aggregate home sales by floor space in the first 10 months slipping 9.5 percent from a year ago, down from a 10.3 percent contraction in the January-September period.

Measured by value, too, home sales in the first 10 months dropped by 9.9 percent, from the 10.8 percent decline in the January-September period.

Analysts said that as sales improve and developers' inventories fall, they expect the price contractions to continue to ease. But as developers offer promotions or discounts to boost property sales and increase liquidity, any significant price increases are unlikely.

Moody's Investors Service Inc said in a recent report that it expected Chinese house sales to continue dropping in 2015, albeit at a slower rate.

Nationwide, it predicted sales will shrink up to 5 percent year-on-year in 2015, compared with the dramatic 10.8 percent drop in the first nine months.

In the pre-owned housing market, meanwhile, price declines also eased in October, according to the statistics bureau, falling month-on-month in 64 out of the 70 cities. In September, prices had dropped in all 70 cities.

Beijing saw the largest gain in pre-owned house prices, rising 0.3 percent over September, which ended six straight months of decline since April.

"Beijing's market usually heralds change in the national market. This first pickup in pre-owned home prices indicates the formation of a new round of positive expectation," said Yan Yuejin, an analyst with E-House (China) Holdings Ltd.

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