Prices for new homes in China rose by just 0.1 percent in July from the previous month and they were down 1.5 percent from a year ago.
A modest rise for the second month running, following falls between October and May, makes it more likely Beijing will continue the campaign it has had underway for the last two years to cool red-hot property prices and avoid a bubble developing.
Home prices rose in 49 of 70 major cities monitored by the National Bureau of Statistics in July in month-on-month terms, up from 25 in June, adding to recent signs of an end to the government-induced property market downturn.
“A new trend does appear to be materialising as home prices continue on an upward trajectory after the Chinese government began to loosen certain levers to address concerns around a slowing economy,” Mark Budden, China area leader at consultancy EC Harris, said in a note after the data.
“It’s still a little premature to label the slowdown over as certain macro-economic factors could yet threaten this recovery and, if the market does begin to heat up again, the central government is likely to step in to curb speculation,” he added.
The shift follows a slew of pro-growth measures from Beijing since autumn 2011, as well as unauthorised policy relaxation by more than 30 local governments that has revived housing demand.