China March new home prices rise at fastest pace in 9 months - survey

·1 min read

BEIJING, April 1 (Reuters) - Prices of new homes in 100 Chinese cities rose at the fastest pace in nine months in March, a private survey showed on Saturday, as government support measures helped demand pick up in large and midsize cities.

New home prices rose 0.02% from the previous month after a flat reading in February, the fastest rise since June, according to data from the China Index Academy, one of the country's largest independent real estate researchers.

In March, 41 cities reported increases, up from 26 in February, the firm said.

The property sector, which accounts for a quarter of China's economy, was badly hit last year as many developers could not finish projects, leading mortgage boycotts by some buyers. COVID-19 lockdowns and movement controls also hurt buyer sentiment.

Sales have rebounded in major cities in recent weeks, as homebuyers return after Beijing abandoned its zero-COVID policy in December, but consumer confidence remains fickle.

China is counting on a pipeline of pent-up demand to power its real estate rebound, but there are questions on the strength of a post-reopening rebound.

"Growth in Chinese contracted property sales value turned positive in January-February 2023 on the back of an increase in average selling price, but a sustainable recovery of the property sector remains uncertain, " Moody's said in a research note. (Reporting by Liangping Gao and Ryan Woo; Editing by William Mallard)