BEIJING (REUTERS) - Growth in China's real estate investment slowed to 5.1 per cent in the first five months from a year earlier, while the floor area of property sold dropped 0.2 per cent from the year-earlier period, data showed on Thursday.
The rise in investment, reported by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), compared with an increase of 6 per cent in the first four months of 2015.
The drop in sales area compares with a 4.8 per cent annual fall for January to April.
A cooling property market has weighed heavily on the economy over the past year. Real estate investment, which directly affects about 40 other business sectors in China, is considered to be a crucial driver of activity.
While home sales have picked up recently and prices show signs of levelling off in bigger cities, economists say the sector will continue to drag on broader growth until high inventories of unsold homes are cleared, investment resumes and construction picks up.