China property prices on upswing in July

BEIJING: Property prices in Chinese cities picked up further in July, official figures showed Monday, as the effects of government stimulus efforts gained strength.

Prices of real estate in 70 major cities jumped by one percent year-on-year last month, the National Development and Reform Commission and the National Bureau of Statistics said in a statement.

That followed a 0.2-percent rise in June. Until then the index had slumped for six months since December, as it was hit by previous government attempts to rein in prices as well as the global economic crisis.

Prices of new houses increased 0.3 percent in July from a year ago, compared with a drop of 0.6 percent in June, while those of existing houses went up by three percent, up from 2.2 percent a month earlier, the statement said.

Since October, the government has taken a series of measures, including tax breaks and preferential rates for first-home buyers, to avoid a crash in real estate, which accounts for more than 20 percent of urban fixed investments.

In addition, inflation expectations due to a surge in new bank loans this year is also driving the sector's rebound, analysts argued.

New loans for the first half of the year amounted to a record 1.1 trillion dollars, recent central bank figures showed.