Chinese urban property prices fell by 1.2% in February from a year earlier, the government said, the steepest annual decline since official records began in 2005.
The month-on-month fall of 0.2% in February was unchanged from the pace of decline in January, the National Development and Reform Commission said.
Interactive Investor points out the the property sector is a pillar of the Chinese economy, accounting for about a quarter of all investment, so a sustained downturn in prices would weigh heavily on business activity and feed into the broader deflation threat.
The 1.2% annual drop in average property prices across 70 large- and medium-sized cities was an acceleration from January’s decrease of 0.9 percent, the NDRC said on its website.
December had been the first month to show an annual drop since the NDRC, which compiles the data together with the National Bureau of Statistics, began publishing the index in July 2005.
Early last year, property prices had been increasing at a double-digit pace on an annual basis.