China home-price gains cool as smaller cities impose curbs

Cars pass by a housing construction site in Shanghai on July 1, 2016.
Cars pass by a housing construction site in Shanghai on July 1, 2016. PHOTO: AFP

SHANGHAI (BLOOMBERG) - China's home prices fell in more cities for a fourth month as local governments joined some of the nation's largest hubs in imposing residential property curbs.

New-home prices excluding government-subsidized housing gained in 51 cities last month, from 55 in June, among the 70 the government tracks, the National Bureau of Statistics said on Thursday (Aug 18). Prices dropped in 16 cities, compared with 10 a month earlier. They were unchanged in three.

A surge in home prices showed signs of slowing, as tightening measures have spread from larger hubs such as Shanghai and Shenzhen in a bid to tackle overheated home markets that have been buoyed by stimulus measures rolled out since November 2014. Nanjing, Jiangsu's provincial capital, and Suzhou, a regional manufacturing base, last week raised down-payment requirements for some buyers of second residences, adding to restrictions introduced in Xiamen, a southern port city in Fujian province, and Hefei, the provincial capital of Anhui.

"The recent policy tightening could curb rapid home-price growth,'' David Yang, a Shanghai-based analyst at UOB Kay Hian Investment Co, said before the data release. "Local polices will see further divergence as surging home prices and land costs trigger more tightening rules."