China housing prices fell at a slower rate nationwide in April, with rates in the country’s largest cities already rebounding, as the country shows signs of recovering from a year-long downturn.
Home prices in the country’s 10 biggest cities, including Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen, rose by an average of 0.12 percent last month according to a survey by research institute China Index Academy. However, across 100 cities covered by the unit of online real estate platform Soufun, prices were still down by 0.01 percent in April, although the rate of decline slowed on a month by month basis, compared to March figures.
The real estate market results are a sign that reduced interest rates and other moves to boost lending by China’s central bank have begun to revive the housing sector, which has seen prices sliding since May 2014.
Price Slide Continues to Slacken
Shenzhen had the strongest results of any city nationwide during April, with a growth rate of 1.09 percent compared to March the survey showed.
Despite the growth in Shenzhen and the slower month on month decline, prices in April were still down 4.46 percent compared to the same month in 2014, falling to an average of RMB 18,961 ($1,695) per square metre across the 100 cities in the survey. In March the annualised decline had been only 4.35 percent.
Rate Cuts, Policy Changes Revive Market
The stronger performance by China’s real estate market follows several months of ever stronger steps by the government to revive the market including two cuts in interest rates in the last six months.
A general economic slowdown which has seen GDP growth figures fall to their lowest levels in 15 years has motivated the government to ease policy toward the real estate sector, which accounts for at least 15 percent of the country’s gross domestic product.
Besides the rate cuts, in late March the government lowered downpayment levels from 60 to 40 percent for buyers of second homes, and also reduced some taxes and fees on transactions.
With China’s economic growth continuing to sputter this year, analysts continued moves to aid the housing sector, and an ongoing rebound in the industry through the end of the year.