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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

China's property prices rise again in April

Property prices in China posted the biggest year-on-year jump in nearly five years in April, official data showed Tuesday, amid persistent fears about a growing bubble in the real estate sector.

Prices in major cities rose 12.8 percent on year in April, the National Bureau of Statistics said on its website, marking the biggest year-on-year rise for a single month since the survey was widened to 70 cities in July 2005.

The statistics bureau had previously collected data on 35 major cities.

The pace accelerated from the 11.7 percent increase in residential and commercial property prices recorded in March and a 10.7 percent rise in February.

The figure came after a top housing official said last week that China's recent measures to rein in soaring property prices had been effective in stabilising the real estate market.

"The trend of excessively fast rising residential property prices in some cities has been curbed, sparking a wide, positive response in society," Qi Ji, vice minister of housing and urban-rural development, said in a online chat.

Chinese authorities have issued a slew of measures in recent weeks as they seek to prevent the property market overheating and derailing the world's third largest economy.

The authorities have tightened restrictions nationwide on advance sales of new property developments, introduced new curbs on loans for third home purchases and raised minimum down-payments for second homes.