China home prices rise in fewer cities as property market cools

Residential buildings in Beijing, China. PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

SHANGHAI (BLOOMBERG) - China's home prices rose in the fewest cities since January, adding to signs of a real estate industry slowdown as officials persist with curbs to limit the risk of bubbles.

New-home prices, excluding government-subsidized housing, in August gained in 46 of 70 cities tracked by the government, compared with 56 in July, the National Bureau of Statistics said on Monday (Sept 18). Prices fell in 18 cities from the previous month and were unchanged in six.

Home sales increased last month at the slowest pace in almost three years, according to data released last week. The government is trying to control home prices with city-by-city curbs without triggering an industry slump that could undermine economic growth. So far, developers believe they can weather the restrictions, with companies such as Country Garden Holdings last month raising sales targets for the year.

With credit tight, sales may soften further in the fourth quarter, Deutsche Bank analysts led by Hong Kong-based Jeffrey Gao wrote in a report before Monday's numbers.

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