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November Property Prices Continue to Rise

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People look at  building models at an exhibition in Fuzhou,  east China's Fujian Province. [Xinhua]
Property prices in 70 major Chinese cities rose 0.3 percent in November from October, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said Friday.

November was the third consecutive month prices rose, after a 0.2-percent rise in October and a 0.5-percent gain in September.

The annualized growth rate, down from an 8.6 percent increase in October, fell for the seventh consecutive month after the government in April began stepping up controls to curb prices. The annualized price rise peaked in April at 12.8 percent.

New home prices climbed 9.3 percent year on year in November and 0.4 percent month on month. Prices for second-hand homes rose 5.6 percent year on year and 0.3 percent month on month.

Property sales volume rose 9 percent month on month to 101.13 million square meters in November while the value of property sales grew 4.1 percent month on month to 528.6 billion yuan (US$79.41 billion). Both data rebounded from monthly declines in October, signaling a rebound in market demand.

Property investment rose 36.7 percent year on year to 462.8 billion yuan in November. That brought combined investment in the first 11 months to 4.27 trillion yuan, up 36.5 percent year on year.

"The slower year-on-year rise in prices was within our expectations because of last year's high base, and so is a further rise in prices," Wang Pei, an analyst with CEBM Group, an independent investment advisory firm, said.

"But the data showed market demand is more robust than we estimated," he said, referring to higher inflation as the driver.

"Inflation expectations have pushed up demand for property as an safe haven for investment compared to bank deposits and stocks," he added. China's consumer prices soared to a 25-month high of 4.4 percent in the 12 months through October. The figure for November will be released Saturday, and analysts expect a further rise.

However, Wang saw the rebound in demand as a short-term phenomenon. He expects next week to be a "sensitive period" for tightening measures as the latest monthly price increase might fuel expectations of further government efforts to stabilize prices.

The government, which is considering introducing a property tax, has introduced a raft of measures to crack down on property market speculation and rein in home prices, including suspending mortgage loans for third home purchases and raising down-payments.

The central bank twice last month ordered banks to raise the amount of money they keep in reserve, after announcing in October its first interest rate hike in nearly three years.

(Xinhua News Agency December 10, 2010)


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