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China's new home prices extend declines despite policy support

Tan KW
Publish date: Fri, 23 Feb 2024, 12:53 PM
Tan KW
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BEIJING China's new home prices slowed their month-on-month declines in January, with the biggest cities seeing some stabilisation, but the nationwide downward trend persisted despite Beijing's efforts to revive demand.

New home prices fell 0.3% month-on-month in January after dipping 0.4% in December, according to Reuters calculations based on National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) data on Friday.

China has been ramping up measures to arrest a property downturn, including ordering state banks to boost lending to residential projects under the "whitelist" mechanism. More big cities have also eased purchase curbs to lure homebuyers.

Last month, home prices in tier-one cities fell 0.3% on month, smaller than their 0.4% decline in December, partly due to additional support measures including a reduction in down-payments.

While the number of cities that saw monthly price falls in January also decreased, the overall market remained on a firm downtrend with buyer sentiment still very weak.

From a year earlier, home prices fell 0.7%, marking the sharpest drop in 10 months. That was despite a low statistical base in January 2023 when prices fell 1.5% year-on-year due to Covid-19 disruptions.

The property market has struggled to stabilise after being in the doldrums since 2021 due to a series of defaults among overleveraged developers.

Policymakers have not stopped rolling out measures to boost market confidence.

The country's central bank on Tuesday announced its biggest ever reduction in the benchmark mortgage rate, although analysts believe its impact on home price will be limited given existing mortgage holders will not benefit until next year.

"It will take some time for homebuyers' incomes and confidence, and overall demand to recover in the property sector, which is still in the process of gradually bottoming out," said Zhang Dawei, analyst at property agency Centaline.


  - Reuters


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