BEIJING (Reuters) – New home prices in more major Chinese cities extended gains in January, a private survey showed on Wednesday, offering tentative signs of improving market confidence, as a flurry of property policy easing steps take effect.
New home prices rose month-on-month in 12 cities, up from 10 in December, according to the survey by China Index Academy (CIA), one of the country’s largest independent real estate research firms.
“The slowdown of the fall in home prices and the reduction in the number of cities with falling prices show the stimulative policies are taking effect and market confidence is showing signs of recovery,” said the firm’s analyst Cao Jingjing.
China’s property sector, accounting for a quarter of the economy, has struggled with defaults and stalled projects, hitting market confidence and weighing on economic growth.
The survey also showed six cities, notably the Chinese capital Beijing and the populous city of Chengdu in southwest China, reversed declines to post growth. In December, three cities swung from contraction to expansion.
More broadly, prices in 100 cities monitored by the research firm fell 0.02% from a month earlier in January compared with the bigger 0.08% drop in December and marking the fourth straight month of narrowing declines.
A string of property stimulus policies and the lifting of COVID-19 containment measures since December have cheered markets and slightly boosted sentiment.
China’s financial and commercial hub Shanghai saw a 0.04% rise in home prices in January from a month earlier, extending the 0.01% rise in December, while the mega-city of Hangzhou, capital of the prosperous coastal province of Zhejiang, reported a 0.11% gain versus 0.06% growth in the previous month.
“National property market policies will continue to ease, with some key first- and second-tier cities taking the lead in recovery and driving a gradual stabilisation of the national market,” Cao said.
(Reporting by Liangping Gao and Ryan Woo; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)