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[BEIJING] China's new home sales rose at the slowest pace so far this year amid policymakers' moves to cool the property market.
New home sales climbed 32.9 per cent to 773 billion yuan (S$159.5 billion) last month from a year earlier, according to Bloomberg calculations based on data the National Bureau of Statistics released Monday. The increase compares with a 63.5 per cent surge in April. Home sales fell 2.6 per cent in May from April.
The government is seeking to clear a glut of unsold homes in smaller cities while encouraging curbs in top economic hubs, where prices have soared amid stimulus measures and lower interest rates.
Among the cities to impose curbs were Shanghai and Shenzhen, where new-home prices in April soared 28 per cent and 62 per cent respectively from a year earlier. Suzhou, Nanjing and Langfang have also introduced tightening measures.
"Ample liquidity, which led the rapid gain in home sales in the first quarter, has abated," said Chen Shen, a Shanghai-based property analyst at China Securities Co, who forecast home-sales growth to further slow in June.
Property-development investment growth, which expanded at the slowest pace in 15 years in December, was 7 per cent in the first five months of the year. That's slower than the 7.2 per cent increase in the first four months.
Developers bought 5.8 per cent less land in May compared with a year earlier. New construction starts slowed, expanding 10.6 per cent last month at the slowest pace this year.