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Sales, prices drop on BJ 2nd-hand houses

Updated: 2010-03-12 15:51
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The sales and prices of second-hand housing both experienced a decline in February for the first time since last June, bjnews.com.cn reported Friday.

Official statistics released Thursday showed that the average price of second-hand housing in Beijing reversed the upward trend last month as sales continued to shrink.

Data from the 15 real estate brokerage companies showed that contracted sales of second-hand housing in the city tumbled 38 percent from the previous month, to 2,790 units, with apartments of 90 square meters or smaller accounting for 65.5 percent. Sales for the first two months of the year dropped 13.5 percent year-on-year to 7,288 units.

The average price of secondhand housing dipped 4.6 percent last month over January to 13,960 yuan ($2,045.06) per square meter (sq m). The average price for the first two months was 14,378 yuan per sq m.

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Meanwhile, newly added units on the second-hand housing market slumped 64.2 percent from January, to 20,860 units, the report said.

An official with the Beijing municipal statistics bureau attributed the double decline to the Spring Festival, or the traditional Chinese Lunar New Year, when many Chinese travel back to their hometowns for weeklong family reunions. This year's Spring Festival fell on Feb 14.

Authorities at both the national and local levels have taken measures to cool the overheated property market. But officials said it was too early to say whether the drop in second-hand housing prices was a result of those measures.

The rental market followed the same trend in February, with a 10 percent decline in trading volume and a 7.9 percent drop in the average price compared with January levels, the report said.