The pickup in new home prices firmed last month with an improvement in sales volume, the latest SCMP-Creda index showed, indicating signs of a market recovery following a flurry of policy support. Prices gained month on month in eight of the 10 major mainland cities, led by a jump of 18.94 per cent in Shenzhen. The other seven cities are Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Tianjin, Chongqing, Hangzhou and Nanjing. That was wider and deeper than the rise of less than 1 per cent in Tianjin and Hangzhou in October. "Shenzhen posted the best monthly sales performance so far this year and its prices also rose the most quickly across the country, driven by macro policies including the interest rate cut," said Chen Sheng, the dean of mainland consultancy China Real Estate Data Academy (Creda), a partner of the South China Morning Post for the monthly index, which covers home prices, sales and affordability in the 10 key cities. Home sales in Shenzhen rose 28.8 per cent last month from October, rising for a fifth consecutive month. Combined transaction volume in the 10 cities grew 10 per cent to 13.4 million sqmetres, the most so far this year and 75 per cent higher than in June when it hit the lowest level. But Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chongqing and Hangzhou suffered slight declines in transactions from the previous month. Meanwhile, Wuhan suffered a month-on-month fall of 3.01 per cent in home prices and Chengdu saw a drop of 4.93 per cent. The mainland cut interest rates last month for the first time in more than two years after steps taken in the previous few months failed to arrest a slowdown in the broader economy, mainly hit by a cooling real estate market. Policymakers also ended more than four years of property tightening to relax mortgage rules at the end of September to stimulate demand. However, some analysts still doubt whether the supportive policies already rolled out will be enough to stem the market decline as the supply glut is unprecedented and home prices are still hovering at record-high levels, far beyond the reach of most middle-class families. The latest SCMP-Creda data showed last month's new home prices were at a record high in Shanghai, at an average 27,770 yuan (HK$35,136) per square metre. It was also the highest across the country. Prices also hit a record in Tianjin and Nanjing. Beijing has remained the most unaffordable city, a position it has held since the index was first published in January, with the average home costing more than 19 years of family income. The most affordable among the 10 cities is Chengdu, where a family would have to save every penny they earn for 61/2 years to buy an average home at last month's price level.