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Housing prices rise 10.2% in major cities in Q4
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Housing prices continued to soar in China's major cities in the fourth quarter, official figures released on Thursday show.

The average housing price in China's 70 large- and medium-sized cities climbed 10.2 percent in the fourth quarter from the same period of 2006, two percentage points higher than in the third quarter, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) said in a statement.

Experts said the figures were not surprising as the growth rates in November and December had both reached 10.5 percent year on year, the largest monthly gain since July 2005.

Houses have been getting more expensive despite government efforts to curb real estate investment and shelter low-income families.

Prices of new apartments jumped 11.4 percent, up 2.4 percentage points from the third quarter, while second-hand units went up 9.8 percent, an increase of 2.2 percentage points.

Rents rose 3.1 percent, while the growth of land transaction prices slowed from the third quarter by 4.3 percentage points to stand at 10.7 percent.

Housing prices in major Chinese cities increased 5.6 percent year on year in the first quarter, 6.3 percent in the second quarter and 8.2 percent in the third, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.

(Xinhua News Agency February 1, 2008)

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