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[BEIJING] The area of land used in new property developments in China fell by a quarter last year compared with 2013, state news agency Xinhua said on Tuesday, highlighting the extent of the country's housing downturn.
Land allocated to new real estate developments dropped 25.5 per cent last year to 151,000 hectares from 2013, Xinhua said, citing data from the Ministry of Land and Resources.
Squeezed by weakening demand and a glut of unsold homes, China's property market started softening last year.
A sluggish housing sector, which accounts for some 15 per cent of China's annual economic output, was one of the biggest drags on the Chinese economy last year, when growth fell to a 24-year low of 7.4 per cent.
Data earlier this month showed average new home prices in China's major cities fell for the ninth consecutive month in January, reinforcing a view among some analysts that the market would remain in the doldrums this year.