Commodities Buzz: China Housing Prices Stable in April

China housing prices stayed largely stable in major Chinese cities in April as the government continued tough purchase restrictions, official data showed Wednesday. On a yearly basis, new residential housing prices in Chinas first-tier cities declined 0.4 percentage points more in April compared with a 0.6 percent drop in March, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said.

Meanwhile, new home price growth in second-tier cities were flat with the March level, and those in third-tier cities saw year-on-year growth 0.3 percentage points lower than a month ago. New residential housing prices in the 15 major cities, considered the "hottest markets," remained stable in April, with seven cities, including Shanghai, reporting monthly declines of 0.1 percent to 0.2 percent, while the eight other cities posted slight growth between 0.1 percent and 0.5 percent, NBS data showed.

During previous years, rocketing housing prices, especially in major cities, had fueled concerns about asset bubbles. To curb speculation, local governments have passed or expanded their restrictions on house purchases and increased the minimum downpayment required for a mortgage.

Property development investment expanded 10.3 percent year on year for January-April, slightly down from 10.4 percent during the first quarter, said the NBS. Housing sales measured by floor area grew 1.3 percent during the four-month period, down from 3.6 percent for January-March.