New home prices in China fall for the first time since December | Business and economy

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Average new home prices in 70 major cities fell 0.2% on a monthly basis after stagnating in March.

New home prices in China in April fell for the first time month-on-month since December, official data showed Wednesday, depressed by strict COVID-19 lockdowns in many cities, despite measures additional easing aimed at supporting demand.

Average new home prices in 70 major cities fell 0.2% on a monthly basis, from zero growth in March, according to Reuters news agency calculations based on April data from the National Bureau of statistics (NBS).

New home prices rose 0.7% from a year earlier, the slowest pace since October 2015 and down from a 1.5% gain in March.

In April, 47 of 70 cities surveyed by the NBS reported lower new home prices from the previous month, compared with 38 cities reporting a decline in March.

The outlook for China’s property market has remained bleak in recent months, with a sharp slowdown in property sales after the stalwart of the world’s second-largest economy cooled due to Beijing’s crackdown on excessive borrowing from developers.

As of last month, more than 40 cities had taken steps to stoke homebuyer interest, including subsidies, mortgage rate cuts and allowing more loans in provident housing funds.

The northern city of Tianjin, about 100 km (60 miles) southeast of Beijing, released a draft consultation on April 24, raising the maximum provident fund for first-time buyers to 800,000 yuan ($120,000). ) for 600,000 yuan ($90,000).

Chinese financial authorities on Sunday authorized a further cut in mortgage interest rates for some home buyers.

COVID-19 outbreaks and prolonged shutdowns in dozens of cities have further weighed on the already vulnerable real estate market.

With 52 daily symptomatic cases for Tuesday, the capital, Beijing, has gradually tightened restrictions over the past three weeks or so, including banning restaurant services and advising many residents to work from home.

Property sales in value in April fell 46.6% from a year earlier, the biggest drop since August 2006, and widening sharply from the 26.17% drop in March, according to the official data from Monday.

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