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Housing Sales Fall 15 Pct in Major S. China City
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GUANGZHOU, Jan. 18 (Xinhua) -- New commercial housing sales fell 15.2 percent year-on-year in terms of floor area in 2011 in the bustling southern city of Guangzhou as government curbs have managed to cool property speculation.

Meanwhile, new commercial housing prices climbed an average of 2.5 percent last year in ten districts in Guangdong's provincial capital, the Guangzhou Land Resources and Housing Management Bureau said in a press release.

The bureau said it has achieved the control target set at the beginning of last year by capping the price rise below the annual growth rates of the economy and disposable income.

Despite a year-on-year rise, new commercial housing prices have fallen month-on-month for four consecutive months, the statement said.

Last December, the sales decline accelerated to 28.2 percent year-on-year with 345,300 square meters in floor area, while prices fell 7.8 percent to 13,286 yuan (2,100 U.S. dollars) per square meter on average.

The Chinese government has managed to cool the once red-hot property sector by instituting measures such as purchasing restrictions, higher lending rates and down payments for second homes, and a ban on mortgage loans for third homes last year.

The central government is continuing its work this year to bring housing prices to a reasonable level, with last year's control measures remaining in effect through 2012, according to the country's central economic work conference held last month. 

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