Average home prices increased in only 27 of 70 major mainland cities monitored in October, down from 39 in September, Bloomberg reported, citing new figures from the National Bureau of Statistics. Prices dropped in 33 of the cities, up from 21 in September. While prices continued to rise markedly in first-tier cities, performance among second-tier cities was mixed, and price growth among both groups “weakened” month-on-month as third-tier cities’ prices fell, according to a statement from the bureau. October data showed new housing starts – usually a leading indicator for the property sector – fell 24%, a sharp reversal after a 17% rise in September. For more on the outlook for China’s property market, see CER’s recent in-depth report.