Control measures will temper surge, says statistics official Mainland property prices will rise 10 per cent next year, according a senior official at the National Bureau of Statistics. The projection by Jia Hai , deputy director of the bureau's investment department, came after the country recorded a 12.5 per cent increase in the first 11 months of this year - 6.7 points more than for the same period last year and the highest growth since 1998. Mr Jia was quoted by Xinhua as saying the slight easing in price increases would make it evident that the central government's macroeconomic control measures, marked by a tightening of land and credit policies, were working. But he said the property sector would continue to be a fast-growing area. Some analysts have warned that prices have been rising so fast that the mainland market was a property bubble in the making. Total investment in the property market is expected to increase 23 per cent in the coming year. It grew by 29.2 per cent in the first 11 months of this year. In the same period of time, average property prices rose 12.5 per cent year on year to 2,759 yuan per square metre, while residential prices were 11.6 per cent higher, according to the National Bureau of Statistics. Mr Jia attributed the double-digit growth to increasing demand for houses and a marked decline in the building of affordable houses this year. Government-led urbanisation programmes, which involved the demolition of 100 million square metres of older housing in 40 main cities each year, and the soaring cost of building materials in the past year had also contributed to price rises, Mr Jia said. With those factors continuing to affect the property market, macroeconomic controls needed to be strengthened in order to prevent the emergence of a speculative real estate bubble. Yi Xianrong, a senior economist with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said this year's 12.5 per cent rise in property prices was alarming because it indicated that bubbles already existed in some main cities. 'If it was an overall hike, there would be no need to worry. But when rises did not happen in most areas and the increase was only a result of soaring housing prices in a few areas, that is something to watch out for,' he told the Henan Daily. Rising property prices in Shanghai, Beijing and Zhejiang , partly as a result of speculative factors, needed particular attention, he warned.