China Property Prices Surge in August

New home prices in China rise to highest levels this year to test government cooling measures

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Mark Ralston / AFP/Getty Images

A Chinese worker walks past a new property development in Beijing.

Prices for new homes in China rose in August to their highest level this year, challenging efforts by the government to cool the market while supporting one of the economy’s most robust sectors.

New housing costs rose in 69 out of 70 major Chinese cities. The three largest — Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen — saw prices soar by 15-19% compared to last year, well above the national average of 8.3%, according to data released by the National Bureau of Statistics on Wednesday.

The central government has been trying to rein in runaway housing prices for nearly four years, but it also harbors concerns that excessive measures would derail the economy as it begins to recover after a long slowdown.

Disparities across the market continue to be an issue, with land sales in Beijing and Shanghai setting record prices last month while small cities continued to suffer. Analysts predict that Beijing will not introduce any dramatic changes to its property policy for the foreseeable future.