Prices of new homes in 63 out of 70 leading mainland cities continued to rise last month, reigniting concerns that Beijing will soon be forced to launch new measures to put the brakes on excessive increases in the housing market.
Although the pace of growth slowed slightly from May, prices in nine cities, including Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen, saw increases of more than 10 per cent from a year earlier, according to data tracked by the National Bureau of Statistics.
Five cities reported a drop in prices, against three in May.
"That is a concern," said Zhang Dawei, a research director at the mainland division of property agency Centaline. "Prices are growing rapidly on the year."
Zhang believed the central government would shortly impose new tightening measures, particularly in first-tier cities.
Sixty-nine of the 70 cities reported year-on-year increases in new homes, the same as that in May.
Fuzhou saw the biggest rise of 2.4 per cent on the month.
Major cities in general continued to see a faster pace of growth, with Beijing's new home prices rising 1.7 per cent from May and 16.7 per cent from June last year, the biggest year-on-year growth among other cities.
Shanghai's new home prices rose 2.2 per cent and 14.4 per cent, respectively. In May, they climbed 1.4 per cent and 10.2 per cent.
Shenzhen and Guangzhou saw year-on-year growth of 16 per cent and 16.5 per cent, respectively.
Average new home prices in the 70 major cities rose 6.8 per cent from June last year, according to Reuters' calculations based on official data published yesterday, marking the sixth consecutive month of year-on-year increases.
In month-on-month terms, prices rose 0.8 per cent, easing from May's gain of 0.9 per cent, according to the calculation.
"Real demand is strong," said Alan Chiang Sheung-lai, the head of residential property at DTZ Greater China, adding that investors had been gradually coming back to the market.
"We are also worried that more measures will be launched."
Chiang said an expansion of the property holding tax could be an option.
If the property tax were to be implemented, it would weigh on investor sentiment, according to Alan Jin, an analyst at Mizuho Securities.
"We see limited real impact if the tax rate is kept within the 0.4 to 1 per cent per annum," Jin said.
Wenzhou was the only city reporting a year-on-year decline last month, with new home prices falling 3 per cent.
In the secondary housing market, 55 of the 70 cities posted rises in prices month on month, against 68 cities year on year.