China home prices fall for 11th month as mortgage crisis deepens

CHINA'S home prices fell for an 11th month in July, underscoring how government relief efforts are failing to curb the country's spiralling real estate crisis.

New home prices in 70 cities, excluding state-subsidised housing, declined 0.11 per cent from June when they sank 0.1 per cent, National Bureau of Statistics figures showed on Monday (Aug 15). Existing-home prices fell 0.21 per cent, the same as a month earlier.

China's US$2.4 trillion new-home market is showing little signs of recovery, adding to the woes of an economy that barely expanded last quarter. The mortgage boycotts, which emerged from early July, are dampening consumer confidence.

Within 4 weeks last month, more than 320 projects in about 100 cities were facing payment boycotts, forcing authorities to corral banks and developers to defuse the unrest. The online movement has slowed after the government censored social media sites.

Tension is spilling over to other areas. Earlier this month, more than a dozen developers in a central Chinese province sought help from their local government to restore property sales in the face of protests from disgruntled homebuyers.

Residential prices have been declining in smaller cities, the bureau's chief statistician Sheng Guoqing said in a separate official statement.

Chinese officials have been stepping up efforts to arrest a property slowdown that has weighed on the world's second-largest economy for almost a year. These include urging banks to lend more, cutting mortgage costs and partially relaxing ownership rules. BLOOMBERG

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