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POLITICAL ECONOMY
China's home prices pick up in May: survey
by Staff Writers
Shanghai (AFP) June 03, 2013


Home prices in major Chinese cities continued to rise year-on-year for the sixth consecutive month in May, an independent survey showed Monday.

The average cost of a new home in 100 major cities rose 6.9 percent from a year earlier to 10,180 yuan ($1,647) per square metre in May, the China Index Academy said in a statement, compared with 5.34 percent growth in April.

On a monthly basis, home prices climbed 0.81 percent in May from April, the academy said, adding growth narrowed from one percent in April owing to new government regulations and weaker home sales.

"With the gradual implementation of regulations including limits on selling prices, developers were less active in launching projects while some buyers were inclined to take a wait-and-see approach in May," it said.

China's local governments in late March introduced rules aimed at bringing down home prices, including a capital gains tax of 20 percent on profits that owners earn from selling residential property.

But the academy forecast a rising trend for the future.

"Under the circumstances of increasing land prices, insufficient supply in some cities as well as anticipation of monetary easing, expectations remain strong for a continued rise in home prices in the future," it said.

China's economy, the world's second largest, expanded 7.8 percent in 2012, its worst showing in 13 years.

The government in April announced a surprisingly weak economic growth rate of 7.7 percent for the first quarter, sparking hopes for more efforts, including possible interest rate cuts, to boost the domestic economy.

Property prices are a sensitive issue in China and authorities have sought for the past three years to control their rise.

Measures to contain prices have included restrictions on purchases of second and third homes, higher minimum down payments and taxes in some cities on multiple and non-locally owned homes.

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