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BEIJING (Reuters) - China's real estate investment and sales growth slowed in August but were still at relatively high levels, official data showed on Tuesday, indicating Beijing's efforts to rein in the red-hot real estate market have started to have some effect.
Real estate investment, which affects more than 40 other sectors from cement and steel to furniture, rose 19.3 percent in the first eight months from the same period a year ago, slower than the 20.5 percent rise in the first seven months, the National Bureau of Statistics(NBS) said on Tuesday.
The gains were still much higher than the annual property investment growth rate of 16.2 percent in 2012.
Property sales rose 23.4 percent in January-August from a year earlier in terms of floor space and increased 34.4 percent in terms of value, the agency said in a statement on its website, www.stats.gov.cn
That compared with an annual increase of 25.8 percent and 37.8 percent, respectively, in the first seven months.
The data came after Beijing renewed a push to rein in the frothy housing market in late August, aiming to take more measures in cities where home prices were rising fastest.
As part of that push, the housing ministry recently called in officials from seven cities to talk about their next steps in property tightening. Zhengzhou in central Henan province has already announced new restrictions on home buying after meeting with the ministry.
The latest official data also showed the construction starts rose 4 percent in the first eight months of 2013, slower than an increase of 8.4 percent in the January-July, the NBS data showed.
Total land area bought by developers fell 9.1 percent in the first eight months from a year earlier, accelerating from a drop of 1.4 percent in the first seven months.
China's near four-year-old campaign to temper home prices has been partly undone by strong demand for property, seen as a safe haven investment, and efforts by local governments to sell land to developers for much-needed revenues.
Two plots of land in Beijing and Shanghai sold for record prices in quick succession last week.
Reporting By Xiaoyi Shao and Jonathan Standing; Editing by Kim Coghill