China new home prices rise in most cities in six months

An excavator at a construction site of new residential buildings in Shanghai, China.
An excavator at a construction site of new residential buildings in Shanghai, China.PHOTO: REUTERS

SHANGHAI (BLOOMBERG) - China home prices rose in the most cities in six months even as the government prolonged its campaign to curb property speculation.

New-home prices, excluding government-subsidized housing, in December rose in 57 of 70 cities tracked by the government, compared with 50 in November, the National Bureau of Statistics said on Thursday (Jan 18). Prices fell in 7 cities from the previous month and were unchanged in six.

"China's property prices are going to go up, not just in 2018, but possibly in the next three to five years," Nicole Wong, a CLSA property analyst in Hong Kong, told Bloomberg Television, citing an undersupply of land over the past three years.

Chinese officials are trying to control home prices without triggering an excessive slump in the property industry, which is crucial to the economy. Soon after the easing of some local curbs in northwestern and central China drew public attention, the central government reiterated vows to clamp down on property speculation.

Prices in second-tier cities rose the most in seven months, and the fastest in five months in third-tier towns. The provincial capital of Kunming in far-flung Yunnan led the gains, with housing prices climbing 2.6 per cent from November, followed by a 2.2 per cent gain in the southern city of Haikou.

Prices in major cities declined slightly or stayed mostly flat. Prices dropped 0.3 percent in Guangzhou and 0.2 per cent in Shenzhen, edged up 0.3 per cent in Shanghai and were unchanged in Beijing.