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China's home prices rise 0.8% m-o-m in Dec, up 9.7% y-o-y

[BEIJING] Growth in China's new home prices eased slightly in December from November, in an early sign that a long property boom has started to cool, but annual growth was robust.

Average new home prices in China's 70 major cities rose 0.8 per cent in December, according to Reuters calculations from National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) data on Wednesday. Prices climbed 0.9 per cent in November.

Compared with a year earlier, new home prices rose 9.7 per cent in December, picking up from a 9.3 per cent increase in November and compared with 5.4 per cent growth in 2017.

China's housing market has seen a near three-year tear, giving a major boost to the economy but stirring fears of a property bubble even as the authorities try to contain risks from a rapid build-up in debt.

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Home prices have slowly levelled out and even softened in the country's biggest cities in recent months under the weight of increasingly tough cooling measures, though some smaller cities are still seeing appreciable rises.

Market watchers do not anticipate significant price declines or a crash, but weakness in property and construction are starting to drag on broader economic growth.

REUTERS