Chinese home prices fall for ninth month

image copyrightAFP
image captionChinese new home prices fell for the ninth month in January

The average price of new homes in China's 70 major cities fell 0.4% in January from the month before, marking the ninth consecutive decline.

Government data showed that prices in the cities of Beijing and Shanghai also fell more last month than they did in December on an annual basis.

China's once red-hot real estate market has been facing headwinds from a slowing economy and oversupply issues.

Investors have been turning away from the market and investing in stocks.

Home prices fell in 64 of the 70 cities tracked by the National Bureau of Statistics.

On an annual basis, prices fell 5.1% in January - marking the fifth consecutive month that prices have fallen from a year earlier.

The continuing slump comes despite a surprise interest rate cut by China's central bank in November in an attempt to boost growth in the flagging economy.

The world's second-largest economy grew at its slowest pace in 24 years last year, missing its official target and putting pressure on the government to take measures to avoid a sharper downturn.

Earlier this month, China's central bank surprised markets once again by lowering banks' reserve requirements to boost lending, which is expected to help the property sector.

The reduction was the first since May 2012, although there have been cuts for select small lenders.

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