China's February home prices rise, point to stabilizing property market

Major Chinese cities overall saw home prices rise last month, showing more evidence that the country's property sector is stabilizing, official data showed Thursday.

In February, new home prices in 55 out of 70 large and medium-sized cities in China saw month-on-month increases, up from a total 36 in January, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.

Meanwhile, 40 cities witnessed higher resale home prices, up from 13 in the previous month.

The rise in housing prices can be attributed to the effects of government policies to stabilize the property market and the further unleashing of housing demand, said Sheng Guoqing, the bureau's senior statistician.

New home prices in the four first-tier cities, including Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Guangzhou, edged up 0.2 percent, the same growth rate as January.

In 31 second-tier cities, prices of new homes gained 0.4 percent, picking up from the 0.1-percent rise in January, while new housing in 35 third-tier cities saw a month-on-month increase of 0.3 percent, reversing a 0.1-percent drop a month earlier.

China's property sector has been rebounding ever since the start of this year, according to Xu Xiaole, chief analyst with Beike Research Institute, Securities Times reported. 

The market will be able to achieve sound and healthy development despite external challenges facing the housing market this year, he added.

Xu pointed out that China's urbanization process is at a crucial stage, marked by the shift from demographic dividend to talent dividend. "There will continue to be strong demand from residents to improve their housing conditions," he said.

Under China's policy that 'houses are for living in and not for speculation,' Xu said he believes the government will continue to firmly support basic housing needs and meet demands for improved housing conditions.

(With input from Xinhua)

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