China's home prices showed a deceleration in gains for the first time in 14 months, providing signs that efforts to cool the property market may finally be working.
Average new home prices in China's 70 major cities increased 9.6 percent in January compared to a year ago, according to data from the National Bureau of Statistics. The increase was less than the 9.9 percent increase recorded the month prior, marking the first ease in price increases since November 2012, according to Reuters' calculations.
"Because of the effects of a series of government measures including tightening curbs in some cities and an increasing supply of affordable housing, the market environment and pricing expectations were relatively stable," Liu Jianwei, a senior statistician at the NBS, said in a statement. "Tightening credit conditions and easing pressures from housing inventories also helped home sales to drop, which in turn eased the home price rises further in some cities."
Home prices in Beijing increased by 14.7 percent in January compared to a year ago, easing from the 16 percent increase recorded in December. Shanghai home prices increased 17.5 percent compared to an 18.2 percent annual gain in December.
Home prices may continue to ease following new lending curb announcements.
China's Industrial Bank has stopped mezzanine financing for the property sector, pending the unveiling of new real estate-related loans at the end of March, Reuters reports.