BEIJING : China’s February new home prices rose at the fastest pace since July 2021, official data showed on Thursday, as Beijing’s move to reopen the economy and supportive property sector policies boosted demand.
New home prices in February edged up 0.3 percent month-on-month from a 0.1 percent gain in January, according to Reuters calculations based on National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) data.
In annual terms, prices fell 1.2 percent, marking the slowest pace in seven months. Prices shrank 1.5 percent in January on an annual basis, with the rate of decline unchanged from December.
Since mid-2021, the sector has grappled with a liquidity crisis, with many developers delaying or defaulting on debt payments as they struggle to sell apartments and raise funds.
The outlook in China’s property sector, once a major economic growth driver, has been improving, buoyed by the government’s abrupt U-turn on its zero-COVID policy in December.
In February, 55 among 70 cities surveyed by the NBS saw growth in new home prices month on month, up from 36 the previous month, according to the bureau’s data.
Official data for January-February on Wednesday also showed much narrower declines in home sales, developer investment, and construction starts, suggesting the real estate sector was stabilizing.
Local governments continued to step up efforts to boost demand this year with around 30 cities optimizing policies on provident housing funds, such as allowing smaller down payments and more loans.
By the end of 2022, outstanding mortgages grew by just 1.2 percent to 38.8 trillion yuan ($5.6 trillion), decelerating by 10 percentage points from the end of the previous year, according to central bank data.