China’s home-price growth accelerates


SHANGHAI • China home-price growth accelerated in October, despite the government keeping a tight grip over the property market.

New-home prices rose 1.02% from September, according to Bloomberg calculations based on official data released yesterday. That was just above September’s 1% gain, and the fifth month in a row that prices rose 1% or more.

The uptick in price growth suggests government efforts to tame the property market are falling short. Values gained in 65 of 70 cities tracked in the report, up from 64 in September.

The strength in house prices could trigger further curbs as the government tries to rein in the excesses in the property market — in line with President Xi Jinping’s mantra that homes should be for living in, not speculating on. Local governments have rolled out more than 400 restrictions this year.

Anecdotal signs of a property slowdown — ranging from discounts and giveaways by developers, to angry home-owners protesting cheaper prices than they paid — have yet to filter through to official data. China watchers will be looking for further evidence in coming months that prices are actually starting to ease.

Bearish calls on the housing market have multiplied in recent weeks, with pessimists forecasting home prices could tumble as much as 10% next year. That threatens to drag on an economy already growing at its slowest pace in a decade and embroiled in a trade war with the US.