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    Home price growth edges up in Feb

    By Ren Xiaojin | China Daily | Updated: 2019-03-16 07:34
    Potential homebuyers examine property models at a real estate firm in Chongqing. [Photo by Sun Kaifang/For China Daily]

    First-tier cities see pickup in demand despite marginal dip in commercial real estate sales

    Real estate prices showed signs of recovery in the Chinese mainland during February with new home prices edging up in first-tier cities, the National Bureau of Statistics said on Friday.

    According to NBS data, price growth in the four first-tier cities-Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen was 0.3 percent from a month earlier. House prices in Beijing fell by 0.2 percent from the level in January, while Shanghai and Guangzhou saw growth of 0.3 percent and 1.1 percent respectively. Prices of previously owned homes in Beijing and Shenzhen rose by 0.2 percent and 0.5 percent respectively on a monthly basis.

    Liu Jianwei, senior statistician of NBS, said most of the local governments used differential housing policies in February in accordance with the local market situation so as to maintain stable and healthy development.

    Zhang Dawei, chief analyst at Centaline Property Agency, said while property prices in the first-tier cities showed signs of recovery, the market in second-tier cities was undergoing a period of adjustment.

    "In general, the market is still in a stage of adjustment," said Zhang. "In major first and second-tier cities, prices may see a slight recovery, while in the smaller cities it would continue to seek lower levels."

    Zhang Bo, chief analyst of 58 Anjuke Institute, expects more cities to announce housing policy relaxations this year.

    "Average new home prices in China's 70 major cities rose by 0.5 percent in February and remained mostly stable. Although the regulations will not cease to exist, the gradual relaxation trend is likely to continue," said Zhang. "Property prices, especially in first-tier cities and some second-tier cities, are likely to go up in the long term," he said.

    Mao Shengyong, an NBS spokesman, said: "Housing prices in the 70 major cities remained stable in January and February and the volume of commercial property sold mildly decreased, mainly due to seasonal factors and the new phase of development the industry is witnessing."

    "The house is for living and not for speculation. With the government accelerating steps for a long-term regulatory mechanism, buyers and investors are becoming more rational in their purchases. We expect the property market to see healthy and stable development," said Mao.

    Looking forward, most industry experts expect a stable real estate market in the country with more relaxed regulations.

    "Housing prices will not see any major fluctuations this year, much like what was seen during the second half in 2018," said Mo Tianquan, executive chairman of the board of directors of Fang Holdings Ltd and a member of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) National Committee. "It is normal for property prices to go up, but it needs regulation to prevent them from rising too much."

    Zhang Li, president of R&F Properties, and a member of the CPPCC National Committee, expects the market to see more relaxed regulations this year. "But to what extent the prices will rise depends on each city and region," Zhang 

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