The Chinese residential real estate market saw a slight uptick in January and February, the Wall Street Journal reported. Stimulated by declining prices and cheaper mortgages, nationwide home sales in the period increased 1.1% from a year earlier, compared with an overall decline of 20.3% in 2008, according to government statistics. Property consultancy SouFun also said housing transactions in major cities have been rising over the last few weeks. “The Chinese housing market may have a good chance to be among the first ones to see real signs of picking up,” said Mei Jianping, a professor of finance at the Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business in Beijing. Analysts expect housing prices to continue to decline by 10-15% this year. Rising sales have yet to produce a significant increase in new construction starts, largely because inventory levels remain high.