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Asia Economy Last Updated: Aug 27, 2014 - 10:38 PM

Fall in prices of new homes in China accelerate
By Michael Hennigan, Finfacts founder and editor
Aug 19, 2014 - 8:04 AM

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A builder works at the construction site of residential buildings in Yinchuan, capital of northwest China's Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, Aug. 18, 2014. Out of 70 major Chinese cities, new homes in 64 saw month-on-month price declines in July, compared with 55 in June, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said in a statement. Photo: Xinhua

The average price of new homes in China fell for a third straight month in July, falling almost twice as fast as in June, as developers cut prices in response to slowing demand.

Prices are down 10.5% in the year to July compared with the same period in 2013 and excluding public housing, out of 70 major Chinese cities, new homes in 64 saw month-on-month price declines in July, compared with 55 in June, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said in a statement.

Xinhua, the official news agency, reported that only two cities -- Xiamen in southeastern Fujian Province and Dali in southwestern Yunnan Province -- saw month-on-month price gains in new home prices last month, compared with eight cities for June and 15 cities in May, the NBS data showed.

New home prices in Xiamen edged up slightly by 0.2% month-on-month while Dali rose by 0.1%.

Hangzhou, in east China's Zhejiang province, saw new home prices dropping the most of the 70 cities, down by 2.5% from June. Sanya, in south China's Hainan Island, dropped by 2.4% month-on-month.

For existing homes, 65 major Chinese cities saw price drops in July, notably up from 52 cities in June, according to the NBS. Price of existing homes in Shenyang in northeast's Liaoning Province decreased the most by 1.5% from June.

Only one city -- Xining of west China's Qinghai Province -- recorded month-on-month price gain for existing homes in July, up slightly by 0.1% from June, the NBS said.

"Market expectations in the property market are still unclear, and home buyers chose to stay on the sidelines," Liu Jianwei, a statistician at the statistic bureau, said in a statement.

Standard Chartered Bank in Hong Kong said earlier in August: "Our proprietary survey of 30 developers shows a market in difficult times Sales are slow, construction activity is weakening and local governments are struggling to sell land. On the positive side, defaults are still limited and steep price cuts are seen as unlikely.

Our Developers Sentiment Index suggests that the worst times are still ahead for many developers Inventories likely have further to rise, adding to pressure on developers."

“The next six months are make or break for China’s property market,” Stephen Green, head of Macro Research at Standard Chartered told the FT on Monday. “The stresses leading to defaults among financial trust companies and lower tier developers are growing.”

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