The nation's urban house prices fell by an average 0.4 percent in December compared with the same period last year, representing the only year-on-year decline since the data was first published in July 2005 and a reminder of China's uncertain economic outlook.
Compared to November's level, the urban house prices in December fell 0.5 percent, according to a survey conducted by the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC).
Industry analysts said the government's latest measures to boost the property market will have a limited impact in the early months of 2009 and the domestic property sector would face its most difficult period in the months following the Spring Festival.
"The price drop indicates the property market is still going downhill," said Shuai Hu, a real estate analyst at Haitong Securities in Shanghai. "It will take some more time for potential home buyers to return to the market, although recent transactions in some second-tier cities showed signs of picking up," he added.
The prices of some categories of property moved against the overall trend, the NDRC survey shows. Prices of low-cost housing rose 0.6 percent in December compared to a year earlier period.
The average price of high-end residential apartments dropped 1.1 percent year-on-year, while the price of average residential houses fell 0.9 percent.
Prices of newly completed apartments in some second- tier cities, including Yinchuan, Urumqi, Xining and Guiyang, in provinces of the western area have increased, while property in the major cities, such as Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Nanjing and Chongqing, have fallen. Shenzhen, for instance, reported its sharpest year-on-year decline in prices. Prices fell by 18.1 percent followed by Guangzhou where property prices fell by 9.4 percent.