A potential homebuyer checks out a property project in Taiyuan, Shanxi province, on Wednesday. WEI LIANG / CHINA NEWS SERVICES
Home price growth slowed for the fourth consecutive month in January, after policymakers introduced city-specific measures to cool down overheated residential property markets nationwide, according to data released by the National Bureau of Statistics on Wednesday.
Average new home prices in January grew 0.2 percent month-on-month, compared with December's 0.3 percent rise, according to NBS research, which monitors home prices in 70 major cities.
Since city-specific measures were launched in the fourth quarter of 2016, some 15 key cities including second-tier ones, have seen obvious changes in their residential property markets with home prices being stabilized, and some starting to drop, according to Liu Jianwei, a senior statistician with the NBS.
"Among these cities, new home prices in 11 cities dropped month-on-month in January by somewhere between 0.1 percent and 0.5 percent, and in another three cities, maintained the same level as the previous month.
In Guangzhou, new home prices rose 0.6 percent month-on-month, with growth slowing for four consecutive months," said Liu.
In third-tier cities, the average price of new homes rose 0.4 percent in January, the same as the previous month, marking a stable trend, the NBS report said.
Analysts said that the data showed the measures were effective in cooling overheated markets and curbing speculative buying, and home price trends may diverge in various cities.
"Key cities are likely to see even stronger measures if there is further growth, while lower-tier cities neighboring key cities are likely to grow slightly due to spillover effects, as buyers' demands can be shifted from key cities to smaller cities. Overall, home prices have further stabilized, and wild growth is coming to an end," said Zhang Dawei, chief analyst with Centaline Property.
Xin Zhenwei, an analyst with Shanghai-based Huanyu Property Ltd, said that the transaction volume of both new properties and preowned ones has declined in recent months.
"The stable home price trend gives buyers more options and more time to think about demand and affordability, which is a good thing. In Shanghai's central districts the average price is still at a high level while in suburban areas, properties are more affordable and there is more room for bargaining," said Xin.