China new home prices fall at fastest pace in over 9 years By Reuters

BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s new home prices fell at the fastest monthly pace in over nine years in April, keeping pressure on authorities as intensified efforts to prop up the ailing property sector show few signs of paying off.

Prices were down 0.6% month-on-month in April, worse than a 0.3% fall in March, the fastest pace since November 2014, according to Reuters calculations based on National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) data released on Friday. Prices have fallen for a tenth consecutive month, the data showed.

In annual terms, new home prices fell at the steepest pace since July 2015, down 3.1% last month versus a 2.2% drop in March.

Chinese authorities have stepped up efforts since 2022 to revive the ailing property sector, which is a major driver of the world’s second-biggest economy, but a meaningful recovery has proven elusive.

Authorities last month vowed at a Politburo meeting to improve policies to clear mounting housing inventory. In the latest attempt, policymakers are considering a proposal for local governments nationwide to purchase millions of unsold homes, Bloomberg News reported earlier this week.

Last week, two Chinese provincial capitals – Hangzhou and Xian – lifted all home purchase curbs to attract buyers and shore up their sagging property markets, with investors expecting more megacities to follow suit.

It’s anybody’s guess if the latest steps would help foster a meaningful recovery in the sector which plunged into crisis in 2021 amid a massive liquidity squeeze following an official crackdown on bad debt.

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Many China observers believe a broad sector revival would require policy support measures to go hand in hand with structural reforms

Of the 70 cities in the housing data, 64 reported declines in prices last month, more than the 57 cities that did so in March.

A separate statement from NBS showed property investment and sales both fell at a faster pace from a year earlier in January-April.

(This story has been refiled to correct the day of the week in paragraph 2)

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