Beijing property agents have questioned a report aired on China Central Television last week that property prices in the capital dropped almost 20 per cent last month. 'Economy 30 Minutes', a CCTV news programme, said the China Property Index, which tracks housing price movements, showed the average price of new residential projects in Beijing was 12,180 yuan per square metre at the end of December, down 19.67 per cent from 15,162 yuan in November. It also showed property prices in Beijing rose 12.88 per cent in the third week of December and then dropped 20.25 per cent the following week. However, Meggie Qin, the research head of CB Richard Ellis' Beijing office, said property prices in Beijing remained stable despite a decline in sales volumes. She said she did not believe home prices in prime locations such as the Olympic Village and areas within Fourth Ring Road had been heading downward in the past few months. Property agents believe the drop in the index could be due to the benchmark being based on limited samples and new projects. Eric Chan Wing-fai, deputy managing director at Savills (Beijing), said prices of luxury flats remained stable as owners had stronger holding power. Prices of mass housing units rose more than 20 per cent last year but this pace of growth would slow by half, said Li Wenjie, general manager of Centaline (China) in Beijing, who expects prices of mass housing units to rise about 10 per cent this year.