China home prices rise in fewer cities amid tougher curbs

People ride electric bikes as they pass next to property condominiums (back) in Zhengzhou.
People ride electric bikes as they pass next to property condominiums (back) in Zhengzhou. PHOTO: AFP

HONG KONG (BLOOMBERG) - China's overheated property market steadied in September, as authorities stepped up home-buying curbs to avert a housing bubble.

New-home prices, excluding government-subsidized housing, gained in 63 of the 70 cities the government tracks last month, down from 64 in August, the National Bureau of Statistics said on Friday (Oct 21). Prices dropped in six cities, compared with four a month earlier. They were unchanged in one.

Local governments in at least 21 cities have in recent weeks introduced property curbs, such as requiring larger down-payments and limiting purchases of multiple dwellings in a bid to cool prices.

A cooling in the property market may provide some relief to policy makers, who are seeking to avert a potentially ruinous housing bubble without killing one of the economy's main pillars of growth.

A buoyant property industry helped the world's second-biggest economy grow 6.7 per cent in the third quarter from a year earlier, bang in the middle of the government's 2016 goal of 6.5 per cent to 7 per cent growth.