Property prices in the nation's major cities remained stable in December as pre-owned home prices in top-tier cities declined month-on-month, and both the new and used residential price growth rate moderated in second and third-tier cities, the National Bureau of Statistics said on Wednesday.
Local governments continued to carry out tailored measures toward the property market, while home prices maintained stability in the last month of 2018, said Liu Jianwei, a senior statistician at the NBS.
"The new home price index of the 70 cities surveyed grew 0.8 percent month-on-month on average, and rose 10.6 percent year-on-year. The narrowing month-on-month growth rate may have something to do with discounts offered and the promotion of home sales, and the rising year-on-year growth rate is a result of the comparatively high month-on-month growth of the past few months," said Yan Yuejin, director of Shanghai-based E-house China Research and Development Institution.
Among four first-tier cities, Guangzhou's new home price growth is 3 percent from the previous month, followed by Beijing's 1 percent, Shanghai's 0.6 percent and Shenzhen's 0.4 percent.
However, in the pre-owned home market of the four cities, average prices saw a mild decline of 0.3 percent from November, according to NBS figures.
On an annual basis, prices of new homes and existing homes in first-tier cities both rose in December, with new home prices rising 2.8 percent and existing home prices growing 0.6 percent.
The NBS index also indicated that in 31 second-tier cities, mostly provincial capitals, new home prices and pre-owned home prices rose 0.7 percent and 0.1 percent respectively from a month earlier, narrowing the growth rates by 0.3 percentage point and 0.2 percentage point from November; 35 third-tier cities saw their new home prices increase 0.7 percent and their pre-owned home prices rise 0.3 percent from the previous month.
Pre-owned home prices in major first and second-tier cities had declined for three months in a row, and all the 22 hot spot cities the NBS tracked reported a month-on-month price drop for their preowned home prices in December, showing signs of reaching a turning point, said Zhang Dawei, chief analyst at Centaline Property Agency Ltd.
"Compared to new homes, the secondary market can serve as a better reference. Especially in first-tier and major second-tier cities, where transactions of pre-owned homes account for more than half of their total trading, the figure has surpassed 80 percent in Beijing and Shanghai," said Zhang.
Xie Chen, head of research at CBRE China, said there is little chance for home sales to grow rapidly as they did a few years ago, and home prices are going to get stabilized throughout 2019, as the real estate sector will be closely monitored to make sure "housing is for living in, not speculation".
"Local governments will adopt more flexible policies in accordance with their own conditions to stabilize home prices from either rapid growth or sharp declines," said Xie.