Gov't curbs take effect; measures to persist this year
Home prices in first- and second-tier cities across China were stable in December, due to government efforts to regulate the overheated property market, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said on Wednesday.
Experts said after local governments announced measures in October to curb housing prices, the regulations have taken effect, and such efforts will continue in 2017.
Of the 70 cities monitored by the NBS, 46 said new home prices increased month-on-month in December, down from 55 cities in November, the NBS data showed.
In first-tier cities, the growth rate of new home prices fell 1.9 percentage points month-on-month, the NBS said in a statement on its website. For previously owned homes, the growth rate fell 2 percentage points.
In December, new home prices fell on a monthly basis in 12 of 15 cities with hot property markets, including the four first-tier cities. Prices fell between 0.1 and 0.4 percentage point, the NBS said, and prices were flat in two cities.
The first-tier cities are Beijing and Shanghai, as well as Guangzhou and Shenzhen in South China's Guangdong Province.
The cooling was expected as restrictions rolled out by about 20 local governments in late October have taken effect, Song Ding, a Shenzhen-based market analyst from the China Development Institute, told the Global Times on Wednesday.
In light of many global uncertainties and the downward economic pressure in China, restrictions on home purchases and bank loans will continue across the country in 2017, Song said, noting that "the central government showed the determination to stabilize the real estate market. As it said during the Central Economic Work Conference in December 2016 'homes are for living, not for speculation'."
Chen Juntao, research director of Guangzhou-based Xinsanban Think Tank, agreed, saying that the central government wants a long-term mechanism to regulate the property market, and relevant policies will continue to work in the coming years.
Chen told the Global Times on Wednesday that there may be some overheated housing markets in some cities in the future. "But that kind of situation is just regional, and it will not spread to the whole country."
Song said the overheated national market of the past two years won't happen again. "Although the growth rate of home prices in first-tier cities was on the decline in December, the average housing price in first-tier cities is unlikely to drop," he said.
Among the first-tier cities, only in Guangzhou did prices rise 0.7 percent month-on-month in late December, although the rate of growth was down for the third straight month.