House prices in China's major cities largely remained stable last month amid the country's tightening control of the real estate market, official data showed Tuesday.
On a monthly basis, new house prices in four first-tier cities -- Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Guangzhou -- increased 0.3 percent in May, down from the 0.6-percent increase in April, said the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) in an online statement.
Prices of new houses climbed 0.8 percent in May from the previous month in 31 second-tier cities and 35 third-tier cities.
Meanwhile, prices of resold houses in first- and second-tier cities registered slower growth last month while those in third-tier cities saw a flat increase of 0.6 percent from April, the NBS said.
Prices of resold houses in four first-tier cities inched up 0.1 percent month on month in May, down 0.3 percentage points from a month ago as prices in Beijing and Shenzhen remained flat and Guangzhou reported a monthly dip of 0.3 percent. Only Shanghai saw resold house prices rise, up 0.1 percent month on month.
NBS senior statistician Liu Jianwei said local governments kept differentiated real estate policies in May based on local conditions, contributing to the stable development of China's property market.
The country's property market showed some signs of cooling down after a rebound in March and April.
Real estate investment increased 11.2 percent year on year in the first five months of the year, according to the NBS data released last week.
The pace was slower than the 11.9-percent expansion recorded in the January-April period but was faster than the 9.5-percent growth seen last year.
Commercial housing sales measured by floor area came in at 555.18 million square meters in the first five months, down 1.6 percent year on year, with the sales in value reaching 5.18 trillion yuan (about 751.4 billion U.S. dollars), up 6.1 percent from a year earlier.
Zhang Dawei, a chief analyst with the real estate agency Centaline Property, partially attributed the slower growth of the property market to policies of Chinese authorities during the past two months.
Last month, China's housing regulator alerted four Chinese cities over marked housing price rises in the past three months, urging local governments to take measures to stabilize land and housing prices as well as market expectations.
The country also tightened supervision on violations of real estate financing such as capital inflows through shadow banks and loan misappropriation, according to a document released by the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission last month.
The moves are consistent with the country's continuous efforts to support the sound development of the property market under the principle of "housing is for living in, not for speculation."
China's housing sales and prices are expected to remain stable in the second half of this year, with possible slower increases in real estate investment and construction, according to a report by the China International Capital Corporation Limited.