April 1, 2016 / 9:56 AM / 4 years ago

China home prices extend gains in March - surveys

BEIJING, April 1 (Reuters) - Growth in China’s new home prices quickened in March, two private surveys showed on Friday, evidence that housing prices are continuing to heat up even amid government cooling steps.

Prices of new homes in 288 cities in March rose an average 5.6 percent from a year earlier, the eighth straight month of gains, a poll by property services firm Real Estate Information Corporation (CRIC) showed. The rise in March was faster than an increase of 4.3 percent in February.

Against the previous month, home prices in March were up 1.2 percent compared with a 0.9 percent gain in February, said the CRIC, owned by E-House China Holdings Ltd.

A separate survey by China Real Estate Index System (CREIS)showed average prices in China’s 100 biggest cities rose 7.4 percent in March compared with year-earlier levels, the eighth year-on-year rise in a row.

“With big cities tightening housing policies, the disparity between supply and demand will be eased and the trend of rapid rises in home prices will be curbed,” CREIS said in a statement.

China’s big cities, including Shenzhen, Shanghai and Nanjing, unveiled a series of measures in recent weeks to cool their overheating housing markets after home prices and sales surged.

So far, the recovery in China’s housing market has been confined to the country’s big cities. Small cities are still struggling with high inventories of unsold homes with many unveiling measures to stimulate home buying. (Reporting By Xiaoyi Shao and Nicholas Heath)

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