CRI在线收听:China home price growth slows with further curbs

New stats from the National Bureau of Statistics are suggesting the property market in China's major cities has begun to stabilize through this past month.

Of the 70 large and medium-sized cities surveyed by the NBS, 55 saw new home prices increase month on month in November.

This is down from 62 in October.

Authorities are pointing to local policy moves as one of the main reasons for the slowdown.

Zhang Dawei, Chief analyst with Centaline Property, is suggesting the market has hit a 'turning point.'

"Judging from the statistics, after soaring for nine consecutive months, housing prices have suddenly taken a turn. November home prices saw obvious month-on-month decreases. Among 15 major cities, 11 have seen home prices either decrease or stay unchanged. During both October and November when authorities began putting in new price control policies, around 50 cities saw price growth narrow compared with September."

In Beijing, new residential home prices stayed unchanged from a month earlier, while in Shanghai prices dipped 0.1 percent.

Since October, dozens of Chinese cities have announced new measures, including purchase limits and tightened mortgage restrictions, in an attempt to prevent prices from rising out of control.

Overall, residential home prices in first-tier cities did edge up 0.1 percent in November on a monthly basis.

This is a reduction from the 0.4-percent rise seen through October.

While a recovery of the property sector has been a significant driver of growth this year, policymakers now find themselves walking a fine line between allowing the growth to continue, while at the same time, trying to prevent an asset bubble from becoming a risk to the broader economy.

Chinese President Xi Jinping and his top economic policy makers have pledged steps to prevent an asset bubble at their annual economic conference on Friday.

A statement from that meeting has made this clear, with authorities emphasizing that "Houses are built to be inhabited, not for speculation."

The statement goes on to say that finance, land, taxes and other instruments are going to be used to establish a "fundamental and long-term system" to curb asset bubbles and market volatility.

Yang Hongxu, senier analyst with E-house China, says they're predicting housing sales are likely to decline next year.

"In 2017, generally speaking, policy controls will be comparatively tight in cities where housing prices have been rising sharply. And the policy could be consistent in 2017, which means home prices in major cities are likely to begin dropping significantly next year."

Some observers are suggesting home prices in first and second tier cities are poised to decrease between 10 to 15 percent this coming year.

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