BEIJING, April 15 (Xinhua) -- China continued to see a generally stable housing market in March, with the month-on-month growth of home prices in first-tier cities declining, official data showed Friday.
New home prices in four first-tier cities -- Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Guangzhou -- rose 0.3 percent month on month in March, compared with a 0.5 percent increase in February, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.
Prices of second-hand homes in the four cities gained 0.4 percent in March, easing from the 0.5 percent month-on-month increase in February.
New home prices in second-tier cities remained flat compared with that in February, while those in third-tier cities witnessed a month-on-month decrease of 0.2 percent last month.
"In March, home prices in the 70 major cities displayed a stable trend on a monthly basis," said the bureau's senior statistician Sheng Guoqing, adding that on a year-on-year basis, these cities saw their housing prices decline or register slower growth.
New home prices in first-tier cities rose 4.3 percent year on year in March, narrowing from 4.4 percent in February. New home prices in second-tier cities went up 1.6 percent, while those in third-tier cities decreased 0.6 percent compared with the same period last year.
Since the beginning of this year, multiple factors, including COVID-19 resurgences, have dented the confidence of investors in the property market and the housing transactions have shrunk, said Liu Lin, a researcher with the National Development and Reform Commission.
To withstand the challenges, China has rolled out various policies and measures such as increasing the supply of government-subsidized rental housing, lowering mortgage interest rates and improving the supervision and transaction services in the property market.
Li Yujia, chief researcher with the Guangdong Housing Policy Research Center, noted that "the certainty for further recovery in the real estate market is increasing."
"In the second half of 2022, the epidemic is expected to be contained, and the supportive policies will start to take effect," Li said.
Experts reckon that the principle of "housing is for living in, not for speculation" has been well accepted in the society and that the real estate sector is at a critical stage of exploring a new model of development.
In this year's government work report, China reiterated the principle and vowed to keep land prices, housing prices and market expectations stable.
The country will move faster to develop the long-term rental market, promote the construction of government-subsidized housing, and support the commodity housing market in better meeting the reasonable needs of homebuyers, according to the report. ■