Housing investment and construction activities on the mainland remained fairly soft last month, Societe Generale said in a research report. Investment accelerated to 2.7 per cent year on year from 0.5 per cent in April, albeit still very slow, while starts remained in deep contraction, at minus 12.8 per cent compared with minus 14.9 per cent in the previous month. Fortunately, sales data provided some hope for further recovery in the near term. Property sales rose 24 per cent year on year in value terms and 15 per cent in volume terms, compared with 13 per cent and 7 per cent respectively a month earlier. No detailed geographic breakdown is available, but Societe Generale said the National Bureau of Statistics confirmed its expectation that the big cities accounted for most of the improvement.