China November housing inflation eases as tightening bites

Sat Dec 17, 2011 10:32pm EST
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By Langi Chiang and Kevin Yao

BEIJING (Reuters) - China's November housing inflation eased to its lowest level in the year, a victory for Beijing's campaign to ward off property bubbles as it steadily loosens monetary policy to ensure a soft landing in the world's second-largest economy.

Average new home prices rose 2.2 percent in November from a year ago, the weakest monthly rise so far in 2011, according to Reuters calculations of latest official data published on Sunday.

Home price inflation was 2.8 percent in October.

The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), which tracks home prices in 70 major cities, stopped providing a nationwide home price index in January.

A Reuters weighted index, based on the NBS data, showed that average new home price in China fell 0.2 percent in November from October, for the second month in a row.

The falling home price, in tandem with a sharp ease in China's consumer inflation in November from July's three-year peak, enables Beijing to tilt its policies more toward safeguarding economic growth, away from its top priority of calming inflation just a few months ago.

The NBS said new home prices rose 1.3 percent in Beijing in November from a year ago and were up 2.4 percent in Shanghai, down from a rise of 1.7 percent and 2.9 percent respectively in October.

But new home prices fell in four cities, including Ningbo, Wenzhou, Haikou and Nanchong, in November from a year ago, while they only fell in two of the 70 cities in October.   Continued...