China's home prices see mild increases in December

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China continued to see a generally stable housing market in December, with home prices in 70 major cities showing mild month-on-month increases, official data showed Friday.

New home prices in four first-tier cities -- Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Guangzhou -- rose 0.3 percent month on month in December, compared with a 0.2-percent increase registered in November, according to data from the National Bureau of Statistics.

The country's 31 second-tier cities saw a month-on-month increase of 0.1 percent in new home prices, while 35 third-tier cities witnessed a month-on-month rise of 0.1 percent in new home prices last month.

The resold home market in first-tier cities saw prices increase 0.6 percent month on month in December, edging up 0.1 percentage points from November.

Prices of resold homes in second-tier cities saw a 0.1-percent month-on-month increase, while those in third-tier cities climbed 0.2 percent.

On a year-on-year basis, home prices in first-tier cities rose 3.9 percent in December, while those in second-tier cities went up 4 percent, retreating from a 4.2-percent expansion seen in November.

The resold home prices in first-tier cities grew 8.6 percent from a year earlier, expanding by 0.3 percentage points from the growth seen in November.

China's real estate market saw steady operation in the past year, with the goals of stabilizing land and home prices as well as market expectations basically realized, said Wang Menghui, minister of housing and urban-rural development.

Under the principle that "housing is for living in, not for speculation," sustained regulatory efforts at different levels were devoted to the housing market in 2020.

The country stepped up financial regulation on the housing sector last year with policies encouraging liquidity into the manufacturing industry as well as small and micro companies instead of the property sector, according to the People's Bank of China.

As a result, the growth rate in all kinds of loans surpassed the growth in real estate loans for the first time in eight years, said Zou Lan, a central bank official, at a press conference on Friday.

China vowed to tackle prominent housing problems in large cities at the tone-setting Central Economic Work Conference held in December last year, listing the development of rental housing as one of its key economic tasks for 2021.

To address the concerns of new city dwellers and young people, especially those engaged in basic public services, China will promote the development of rental housing by increasing government-subsidized housing projects and ensuring the supply of public rental houses, said the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development.

The central bank will steadily implement the prudential management for real estate finance, increase financial support for the housing rentals, and promote the steady and healthy development of the real estate market, said Zou, the central bank official.

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