China reports higher house prices

Updated: 2011-02-18 18:05
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BEIJING - China's statistics agency said on Friday that under its readjusted calculation system, prices of newly-built properties in the nation's major 70 cities continued to rise in January.

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Ten cities out of the 70 surveyed reported more than a 10 percent price increase from a year ago, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said on its website.

Six cities also saw second-hand home prices climb at least 10 percent.

The new calculation system does not include the national property price index as it does not reflect the sharp price gap among different localities and lead to misunderstandings, according to the NBS online statement.

The agency also has adjusted its data collection system, compiling figures based on transactions records from city-level housing departments, instead of data reported by real estate developers and sellers.

The statistical reform is in response to the agency's failure to accurately reflect the nation's skyrocketing home prices. Its figures showed home prices only edged up 1.5 percent on average in 2009.

New home prices in Beijing rose 6.8 percent year on year in January this year, and those in Shanghai jumped 1.5 percent, while Chongqing's went up 7.9 percent, it said.

The Chinese government has been stepping up measures to rein in soaring housing prices that have become a major source of public complaints in the country's biggest cities. But property prices have remained stubbornly high.

The central government last month raised the minimum down-payment for second home purchases from 50 percent to 60 percent of the property's value and approved the launch of property taxes in Shanghai and Chongqing.

The Beijing Municipal Government on Wednesday announced new rules prohibiting new home purchases by Beijing families who own two or more apartments and non-Beijing registered families who own at least one apartment.

Other major cities will also issue their purchase limit rules to echo central government's regulation.

The NBS said it would release the housing price data on the 18th of every month.