Beijing has reiterated its determination to keep austerity measures in place to bring down property prices, as sales volumes rebounded sharply and more and more cities start discreetly easing curbs introduced in 2010.
A spokesman for the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development ruled out any change to the austerity measures introduced to crack down on property speculation and bring down runaway prices. The comments were a response to recent mainland media reports claiming that the government planned to ease its restrictions on the sector.
Beijing would closely monitor the implementation of cooling measures in different cities and would step in quickly to remedy 'improper' policies, according to the spokesman.
Shares of mainland property stocks, however, rose after home sales last month climbed to a new high as price cuts spread from rural to urban areas.
Shimao Property edged up 3.59 per cent to close at HK$10.38; Evergrande Real Estate increased 3.06 per cent to HK$4.03; Country Garden rose 3.59 per cent to HK$2.88; and China Overseas Land & Investment gained 2.35 per cent to HK$15.66. The benchmark Hang Seng Index rose 1.43 per cent to 18,520.53 points.
Home sales in 30 cities monitored by Centaline Group rose last month, as lower prices drew buyers. Centaline said sales in the 30 cities grew 20 per cent month-on-month to 16.31 million square metres in March.
Deutsche Bank property analyst Tony Tsang wrote in a report that he expected 'total contract sales of 30 major developers to achieve a month-on-month 10 per cent rise and a year-on-year 14 per cent growth in May. The sales value in May is likely to be the highest since June 2011'.
He believed these developers' full-year sales target should be met as they had achieved an overall average of 36 per cent by May.
Shimao Property announced on Tuesday that property sales last month doubled to 5.1 billion yuan (HK$6.21 billion), from 2.5 billion yuan a year ago. Contract sales for the first five months amounted to 16.5 billion yuan or 54 per cent of the company's sales target, which was to exceed 30.7 billion yuan for 2012, it said.
Meanwhile, Soufun.com, the mainland's largest real estate website, said nearly 40 cities had made small adjustments to the government's property regime, ranging from relaxing rules for pension fund withdrawals to finance home purchases to offering tax breaks for first-time homebuyers.
The number of affordable homes the central government plans to build this year