BEIJING, March 11 -- Investment in China's property sector rose 22.8 percent year on year to 667 billion yuan (106.2 billion U.S. dollars) in the first two months, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) announced Saturday.
The growth rate was 5 percentage points lower than the same period last year, but up 6.6 percentage points from the pace for all of 2012, the NBS said in a statement on its website.
In the first two months, investment in residential housing registered an increase of 23.4 percent from the same period last year, up 12 percentage points from the pace of 2012.
Construction began on 174.31 million square meters of housing in the same period, up 15.3 percent from a year earlier.
Sales of commercial housing surged 49.5 percent to 104.71 million square meters year on year, up 47.7 percentage points from the pace for 2012, the statement said.
Meanwhile, the total value of commercial housing sales jumped 77.6 percent to 736.1 billion yuan in the first two months, it said.
NBS data released last month showed that home prices kept rising at a faster pace in major Chinese cities in January, partly due to worries about future price rises.
On a month-on-month basis, new home prices in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen rose 2.1 percent, 1.3 percent, 2.0 percent and 2.2 percent, respectively. New home prices in these cities also rose faster than in December.
Amid expectations of rising home prices, the Chinese government rolled out a raft of new rules to further tighten control of the property market on March 1.
The rules include higher transaction duties, higher down payments and mortgage interest rates, and strict purchase qualifications to further tighten its grip on the real estate sector.