China's home prices drop again in November: surveys

BEIJING (Reuters) - Chinese home prices fell again in November from the previous month, two private surveys showed on Monday, pointing to a persistent property downturn despite efforts by the authorities to energise the market.

Prices of new homes in 288 cities fell an average 0.27 per cent in November from October, the eighth consecutive drop on a monthly basis, a poll by real estate services firm E-House China Holdings Ltd showed.

Compared to a year ago, home prices in November were still up a barely perceptible 0.04 per cent, compared with October's 1.1 percent annual increase.

A separate survey by China Real Estate Index System(CREIS) showed average prices in the 100 biggest cities fell 0.38 per cent in November from October, the seventh monthly drop in a row, according to its figures.

Compared with a year ago, home prices dropped 1.6 per cent in November, the second consecutive month showing an annual fall, said CREIS, a consultancy linked to China's largest property data provider, Soufun Holdings.

But in a microscopic sign of the property market bottoming out, home prices in the country's 10 wealthiest cities showed a 0.07 per cent in November from October, the first month-on-month increase after dropping for the past six months, according to CREIS.

"Although there were early indications that China's property market had improved, most cities face large inventories of unsold homes," said CREIS. "Home prices in major cities still face downward pressures."

To halt the slide in home prices, China cut mortgage rates and down payments in September for some home buyers, but analysts doubted whether those measures would stem the weakness in the property market.

Meanwhile, China's interest rate cut on Nov 21 may also spark some renewed interest in housing, but insiders say it will take more than that to spur a full rebound.