Growth in the cost of new housing in China slowed for the second time since contraction ended in 2015 even as prices remained substantially elevated from a year prior.

The cost of new housing across 70 major cities rose 12.2 per cent in January from a year earlier, according to a weighted average from Reuters based on data from China’s National Bureau of Statistics. The fall marks the second consecutive month of deceleration after December saw the first slowdown since March 2015.

The impact of purchasing curbs introduced in late 2016 was more evident in short-term price trends as average housing prices grew just 0.2 per cent month on month in January, down from 0.3 per cent growth in December and far below September’s peak of 2.1 per cent.

In month-on-month terms, average prices rose in 55 out of 70 cities, were static in 5 and fell in 20.

Yet the longer view on China’s property markets points to sustained elevation: in year-on-year terms January saw prices rise in 66 cities and fall in just four, with one more city reporting growth compared to December.

Even in month-on-month terms, major urban centres saw only marginal price falls, according to a now regular report on top-tier cities’ price trends issued by the bureau. In Beijing prices dropped just 0.1 per cent on average in January, while those in Shanghai and Shenzhen were down 0.2 and 0.4 per cent, respectively.

In annualised terms, meanwhile, new home prices were up 27 per cent in Beijing, rose 28.3 per cent in Shanghai and grew 18.4 per cent in Shenzhen last month.

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