Housing prices increased by 25 percent: report

By Wang Qian (China Daily)
Updated: 2010-04-02 07:16
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BEIJING - The year-on-year rise of China's housing prices hit a historic high of 25 percent last year, according to a report released by the China Land Survey and Planning Institution.

The report showed the country's average housing price reached 4,474 yuan ($658) per square meter in 2009, while the residential land price rose to 3,824 yuan per sq m the same year, with a year-on-year increase of nearly 8 percent.

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The reported housing price increase, the highest since 2001, was dramatically different from previous data released by the National Bureau of Statistics, which reported that the housing prices in 70 medium- and large-sized cities and municipalities increased about 1.5 percent in 2009 over the previous year, hitting a five-year low.

Different statistical methods and data sources may be the reasons for such a big gap between the figures released from different official departments on the average housing price in 2009, officials said.

"The data in the 2009 report was from the China Index Research Institute and the figures from the national statistics bureau were from the China Statistical Yearbook 2009," said Zhao Song, director of the housing price department of the China Land Survey and Planning Institution and author of the report.

What's more, the scope of the two organizations are also a little different, he said. The report from the land survey institution covers more than 100 cities and municipalities, while the statistics bureau covers 70 medium- and large-sized cities and municipalities.

When the figure was released in February, it triggered a huge controversy, with people saying the figure was obviously opposite to the reality. The data became a hot topic for the media during the sessions of the National People's Conference (NPC) and Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC).

Many people said with irony that the officials must have put the decimal point into the wrong place.

Ma Jiantang, head of the National Bureau of Statistics, said in previous reports that the current statistical system for the housing price is defective and needs improvement.

Li Deshui, a former chief of the bureau, said the data from the bureau might not reflect the true housing market, because the figures are collected from property developers, who might lower the prices.

"Authorities must improve the statistical system by adjusting methods and procedures, or the unreliable data will gradually decrease the public trust," said Yan Jinming, a professor of land management at Renmin University..

He Fan, a senior consultant on the Beijing housing market with, a leading real estate website, told China Daily that the housing price in the capital city of Beijing alone grew at least 50 percent in 2009 over the previous year and the 25-percent rise basically reflects the housing market across the country.