BEIJING (Reuters) - Average new home prices in China's 70 major cities fell 1.3 per cent in September from a year earlier, marking the first year-on-year drop in nearly two years, according to Reuters calculations from official data published on Friday.
Compared with the previous month, home prices were down 1.0 per cent in September, a fifth consecutive monthly drop though easing slightly from a drop of 1.1 per cent in August, Reuters calculations showed.
After a strong performance in 2013, China's real estate market has softened as sales have slowed and banks have become increasingly cautious about lending to developers and home buyers.
To stop property prices from sliding further, the government cut mortgage rates and downpayment levels last month for some home buyers, taking one of its biggest steps this year to boost an economy increasingly threatened by a sagging housing market.
The National Bureau of Statistics said new home prices in Beijing were 0.4 per cent higher in September compared with a year earlier, versus August's increase of 2.1 per cent. They dropped 0.7 per cent from August.
Shanghai's home prices were down 0.8 per cent in September from a year ago, versus 1.5 per cent in August. They fell 0.9 per cent from August, the fifth month-on-month fall in a row.