Home prices in China rose 0.7 percent year-on-year in April, barely faster than the 0.6 percent increase in March, following tougher curbs aimed at driving speculators out of what had been a red hot market.
Compared with a year earlier, new home prices in 70 major cities rose 10.7 percent in April, moderating from 11.3 percent in March, according to Reuters calculations based on data issued by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) on Thursday.
Analysts said that the accelerated prices gains were likely supported by increased demand in smaller cities where property curbs are less stiff.
Prices in China's smaller, third-tier cities grew 0.9 percent in April from a month earlier, accelerating from an increase of 0.8 percent in March, while growth in second-tier cities was flat at 0.6 percent.
In first-tier cities, the rate of increase halved to 0.3 percent, Yan Yuejin, an analyst with E-House China R&D Institute, said after analyzing the official data.
Regulators have intensified their crackdown on speculators since late March by taking tougher measures in at least two dozen cities to stop home prices from surging.
The curbs seemed to be working, as NBS data released on Monday had showed the space of property sold in April grew by slowest rate since December 2015.
Prices actually fell in April, or at least their rise slowed in 31 cities surveyed, compared with 18 cities in March, the NBS said in a note accompanying the data release on Thursday.
Prices for new units in Beijing grew at a slower pace on a monthly basis, while those in Shanghai fell 0.1 percent, as local governments' curbs took effect.
Prices in Shenzhen in South China's Guangdong Province were unchanged month-on-month in April, compared with a fall of 0.3 percent in March.
Prices in Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen rose 16 percent, 13.2 percent, and 6.6 percent, respectively, from a year earlier.
Still, urban housing prices remain high.
A State think tank said on Monday that Beijing was the most expensive city in the nation in April with a median price of 63,647 yuan (,231) per square meter, followed by Shanghai, Shenzhen and Xiamen in East China's Fujian Province.