A child plays beside a model of a huge residential property project in Shanghai. (Photo provided to China Daily)
Prices of new homes in most of China's first-tier cities declined in December, showing that policies to moderate housing prices tailored to local conditions have been effective, said the National Bureau of Statistics.
All first-tier cities apart from Guangzhou recorded lower average prices for new homes in December, according to NBS data, and average prices of all first-tier cities recorded zero month-on-month growth, showing that the fast rise of housing prices in major cities has been curbed, said the NBS, which tracks home prices in 70 cities across China.
In Shanghai, one of the hottest home markets, new home prices went down month-on-month for two consecutive months.
"It is partly because more new homes are now offered only in suburban areas, which affects the average prices of properties. The price trend and transaction volume recorded in the last quarter of 2016 indeed showed that speculative demand has been squeezed out of the market," said Zhou Jing, an analyst with JLL China, real estate services provider.
In second-tier cities, new home prices went up 0.2 percent month-on-month in December, lower than the 0.4 percent in November.
Liu Jianwei, a senior statistician with the NBS, said the new home prices show that the real estate market has shown "positive changes" following the introduction of city-specific residential property market policies. Home price trends in first- and second-tier cities are stable.
"New home prices in third-tier cities rose slightly overall, but the residential property market remains stable," he said.
The average prices in third-tier cities rose 0.4 percent month-on-month in December, lower than 0.8 percent in November.
The government has made it clear that housing is for living, not for speculation, and has pledged a prudent and neutral monetary policy and measures to deflate asset bubbles.
For homebuyers, the current prices in central locations in key cities are still unaffordable.
"It is unlikely I could afford an apartment in an urban area, but as a single man I don't actually need a spacious house. When my income grows, perhaps get married and have a family, I will be thinking of buying a home then," said Huang Weiyi, 24-year-old auditor in Shanghai.