China’s new home prices fall for the first time since December

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China’s new home prices in April fell for the first-time month-on-month since December, official data showed on Wednesday, depressed by strict COVID-19 lockdowns in many cities, despite more easing steps aimed at supporting demand.

Average new home prices in 70 major cities fell 0.2 percent on a month-on-month basis, compared with zero growth in March, according to Reuters news agency calculations based on April data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

New home prices rose 0.7 percent from a year earlier, the slowest pace since October 2015 and easing from a 1.5 percent gain in March.

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In April, 47 among 70 cities surveyed by the NBS reported new home prices falling from the previous month, compared with 38 cities recording a decline in March.

The outlook of China’s property market remained bleak in recent months, with a sharp slowdown in property sales after the pillar of the world’s second-largest economy was chilled due to Beijing’s clampdown on excessive borrowing from developers.

Last month, more than 40 cities had taken steps to stoke home buyers’ interest, including subsidies, cuts in mortgage rates and allowing more loans in provident housing funds.

The northern city of Tianjin, about 100km (60 miles) southeast of Beijing, issued a consultation draft on April 24, increasing the maximum of provident housing funds for first home buyers to 800,000 yuan ($120,000) from 600,000 yuan ($90,000).

Chinese financial authorities on Sunday allowed a further cut in mortgage loan interest rates for some home buyers.

The COVID-19 outbreaks and prolonged lockdowns in dozens of cities have further weighed on the already vulnerable property market.

With 52 daily symptomatic caseloads for Tuesday, the capital, Beijing, has gradually tightened restrictions over the past three weeks or so, including banning dine-in services and advising many residents to work from home.

Property sales by value in April slumped 46.6 percent from a year earlier, the biggest drop since August 2006, and sharply widening from the 26.17 percent fall in March, according to official data on Monday.

SOURCE: REUTERS

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