BEIJING, April 20 The municipal government of
China's capital said on Wednesday that new property curbs
unveiled in March have started to cool the red-hot housing
market, but it will take some time before the frothy market
Beijing, a bellwether of national policy direction, is on
the frontline as China takes on speculators and tries to tame
It announced new curbs in mid-March as prices and sales
picked up again, shrugging off measures implemented late last
The new measures included raising the minimum downpayment on
a second home to 60-80 percent from 50-70 percent depending on
the types of the homes.
The Beijing government said on Wednesday that online
transaction volumes fell 16.7 percent in the 10 days after the
new curbs were implemented on March 18, compared to the level in
the previous 10 days.
Property sales by floor area also dropped 15.4 percent
compared to a year ago in the first quarter, it said, a pace 5
percentage points quicker than in the first two months of the
The city government also singled out the resale market,
stressing it has cooled significantly.
"With demand dropping, it's possible (Beijing) housing
prices, especially in the resale market, may drop," a
spokeswoman from the city government said during a news
conference, according to a script posted on the government
Data from the National Bureau of Statistic showed prices in
Beijing's resale market surged 2.2 percent in March on a monthly
New home prices rose 0.4 percent in Beijing in March from
the previous month, after flatlining in the first two months of
the year. Compared with a year earlier, Beijing home prices
surged 19 percent.
But the spokeswoman conceded buyers may adopt a wait-and-see
attitude as it takes time for policy adjustments to sink in.
"The impact of the new policies will become increasingly
visible in April or in the even longer term," she said.
The housing boom has been a key driver in China's
stronger-than-expected economic performance in recent months,
but analysts believe it may also pose the single biggest risk to
China's growth this year.
Local governments are imposing ever tougher measures to get
sharp prices rises under control, which are expected to slow
real estate investment and construction eventually.
(Reporting by Yawen Chen and Nicholas Heath; Editing by Kim