BEIJING - New house sales have surged in major Chinese cities in recent weeks, as consumers expect prices to rise further in future, according to new industry figures.
The number of newly-built housing units sold in 54 major Chinese cities soared 103 percent year-on-year in the first 13 days of 2013, reaching 104,800 units, figures from the Hong Kong-based real estate agency Centaline Group showed.
During the first two weeks of the year, more than 90 percent of 40 major cities monitored by the China Index Academy posted larger housing transaction volumes than a year earlier.
Many cities, including Beijing, saw the average square footage of housing sold weekly rise to more than double the amount sold during the previous period last year, the academy said.
Strong demand for new houses has driven prices higher and relieved some financial pressure for property developers, said Zhang Dawei, marketing director of Centaline Group.
"People are more willing to buy houses when prices go up. It's an old tradition in China," Zhang said. "Some potential demand has been unleashed, as home prices have rebounded recently."
China's property market cooled after the government imposed strong control measures in 2010 but has shown signs of warming in recent months.
In November, 53 out of a pool of 70 major cities recorded higher new home prices than a month earlier, up from 35 in October, according to data from the National Bureau of Statistics.
In December, the total area of new housing sold in 30 major Chinese cities jumped 86.7 percent year-on-year to an annual high of 22.6 million square meters, according to Centaline Group data.
The rebound in both house prices and transaction volume was caused by discounts offered by developers, government policy adjustments and consumers' changing expectations, Zhang explained.
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