Chinese home prices fall again in October: survey

[BEIJING] Home prices in China dropped for a sixth consecutive month in October, a private survey showed on Friday, pointing to a persistent property downturn, despite government efforts to lift the market.

Home prices in 100 of China's biggest cities fell 0.4 per cent on average in October from the previous month, a survey by the China Real Estate Index System (CREIS) showed.

Compared with a year ago, home prices dropped 0.5 per cent in October, the first fall in 22 months on an annual basis, said CREIS, a consultant linked to China's largest property data provider, Soufun Holdings. "With the government's support measures gaining traction, strengthening demand may help the housing market to recover,"CREIS said.

To halt a slide in home prices, China cut mortgage rates and down payments last month for some home buyers, taking one of its most dramatic steps this year to boost an economy increasingly threatened by a sagging housing market.

Although data from private real estate consultants showed a pick-up in housing sales in recent weeks, it remained unclear whether the government's bid to reduce borrowing costs for home buyers has had an impact on the market.

Stuck with large inventories of unsold homes, Chinese property developers would remain focused on reducing the backlog in the coming months, CREIS added.

China's housing market has softened this year, with sales slowing and banks becoming more cautious about lending to developers and investors.

Cooling in the real estate market, which accounts for about 15 per cent of China's economy, has crimped demand in 40 industries ranging from steel to cement and furniture, becoming the biggest drag on domestic activity, some analysts have said.


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