After last year's sharp increase in mainland property prices, more than 70 per cent of residents believe prices are 'too high'. That compares with only 26.1 per cent a year earlier, according to a survey by the People's Bank of China in the second half of last month. More than 70 per cent of residents in 50 mainland cities say existing property prices are 'too high and unacceptable', up from 67.2 per cent in the fourth quarter of last year. Only 27.6 per cent of the respondents said they believed property prices were still acceptable, down from 31 per cent. The findings contrast with the same survey conducted in the first quarter of 2009, before the property market recovery. A year ago, only 26.1 per cent of the respondents said property prices were 'too high and unacceptable'. About 66.4 per cent of the residents believed property prices were relatively high but remained affordable. Respondents who complained about overvalued property prices have been increasing since the second quarter of last year. The number of complaints from people in high-income groups were particularly significant, the central bank said. Prices of second-hand homes in four major cities - Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Guangzhou - had jumped 30 to 60 per cent from the bottom in February last year to the end of last year, research by Centaline Property Agency and Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) showed. The price growth in the primary market was even higher. The government has released measures to cool the overheated property market and increased the supply of budget homes to pacify lower-income earners. Property sales in the first two months of the year have eased following the measures. David Ng, head of regional property research at RBS, expects prices will only rise 5 per cent this year. But the sales volume will drop 20 per cent from 2009.