The amount of residential floor space sold in China last month fell 1.5 per cent from a year prior, marking the first such drop in two and half years.

The dip in monthly sales of 174.7m square meters from 177.3m in September 2016, calculated based on year-to-date figures released on Thursday by the National Bureau of Statistics, snaps a 30-month streak of year-on-year growth.

The drop represents payoff for policymakers in Beijing, who have spent much of 2017 limiting loans to home buyers and pushing local governments across the country to impose restrictions on property purchases in an attempt to cool down China’s overheated property market.

Most recently Chinese banking regulators told lenders to crack down on the use of consumer loans to finance home purchases.

The area of floor space sold during the year to date grew 10.3 per cent in September, down markedly from growth of 12.7 per cent in the eight months to August. In value terms, sales were up 14.6 per cent for the nine months to September, likewise substantially lower compared to the previous reading of 17.2 per cent.

Investment during the year to date picked up slightly in September, however, rising 8.1 per cent year on year compared to growth of 7.9 per cent in the previous two readings.

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