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Repeats Story Initially Transmitted at 05:46 GMT Sep 18/01:46 EST Sep 18
--More Cities Show Decelerating Prices
--Overall Monthly Average Growth Rate Drops
     BEIJING (MNI) - Housing prices in China further cooled across the country
in August as government controls on the property sector continued to bite and
new curbs on lower-tiered cities started taking effect, data released by the
National Bureau of Statistics on Monday show.
     Out of the 70 major Chinese cities the NBS monitors, 68 cities saw new home
prices rise on a yearly basis in August, compared with 70 cities in July, while
prices in two cities fell. On a monthly basis, housing prices rose in 46 cities,
10 fewer than in July, while 18 cities experienced housing price drops, compared
with nine in July.
     The growth rate of new home prices decelerated in 53 cities m/m in August,
compared with 46 cities in July, while it accelerated in 15 cities, compared
with 24 in July. Compared with the same period a year ago, new home prices in 49
cities decelerated, more than the 31 in July, while they accelerated in 19
cities, much less than the 37 in July.
     The m/m growth rate on average was 0.2%, down from the 0.5% in July, Yan
Yuejin, director of E-House, a property information and service provider based
in Shanghai, said, based on E-House calculations.
     "The expansion of the number of cities where housing prices dipped shows
policies on controlling housing prices took effect in August," Yan said in a
note. "The growth rate of housing prices was relatively big [in general] in
Tier-3 cities, but obvious m/m drops have appeared in some of the hotspot Tier-3
cities."
     August y/y new home price growth decelerated in all four Tier-1 cities, and
in 22 of the 31 Tier-2 cities and 23 of the 35 Tier-3 cities. 
     Property control measures continued to have a cooling effect on prices in
the four Tier-1 cities. New home prices in Beijing grew just 5.6% y/y in August,
much lower than the 9.6% in July and 11.5% in June. Prices grew 3.2% in
Shanghai, also much lower than the 8.4% in July and 10% in June. 
     In Guangzhou, they rose 13.3% in August, compared with the 16.9% rise in
July and 17.9% in June. In the fourth Tier-1 city, Shenzhen, y/y prices dropped
2%, compared with a 0.5% gain in July and 2.7% hike in June.
     On a month-on-month basis, prices in Beijing and Shenzhen were stable,
while those in Shenzhen fell 0.4%, and in Guangzhou they dropped 0.7%.
     "It's the first time in 29 months since March 2015 when m/m housing price
growth dipped in Tier-1 cities, which is an extremely important signal showing
that the bubble in housing prices has continued to be squeezed," Yan told MNI.
     Year-on-year price growth in August was highest in Changsha at 16.9%,
followed by 15.2% in Bengbu, 14.9% in Beihai, and 14.7 in Xi'an and Shaoguan.
Only two cities experienced y/y price decreases, with Shenzhen dropping 2% and
Chengdu falling 0.3%.
     On a monthly basis, prices rose fastest in Hohhot and Guilin, the only two
cities where growth was higher than 1%, respectively at 1% and 1.1%. Prices
dipped fastest in Haikou at -1%, followed by Guangzhou at -0.7%, and Bengbu at
-0.5%.
     Yan said he projected the government's controls on housing prices would
continue to tighten and that housing price growth rates would continue to narrow
slightly in the coming months.
--MNI Beijing Bureau; +86 (10) 8532-5998; email: iris.ouyang@marketnews.com
--MNI Beijing Bureau; +86 (10) 8532-5998; email: vince.morkri@marketnews.com

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