Home price growth in major mainland cities has triggered concerns that the Beijing government may take further measures to cool the market.
The 100-city home price index compiled by the China Real Estate Index System showed that the overall price growth rate last year was 0.02 per cent year-on-year.
However, a closer examination of the data by Nomura Equity Research showed that prices in the 10 major cities - which include Beijing Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen - were up 1.98 per cent since March last year.
The 100-city home price index recorded a seventh consecutive month-on-month slip last month, with the average floor price rising just 0.23 per cent to 9,715 yuan (HK$11,944) per square metre compared with a rise of 0.41 per cent for November.
"We believe that the relatively tight supply in the leading cities … essentially left some room for home price appreciation, while the momentum was also strengthened by the return of upgrading demand," Nomura said.