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Home Prices In China Rise the Most in 26 Months

China’s March new home prices posted the biggest gain in more than two years as buyers rushed into the market ahead of property curbs by local governments, driving real estate stocks higher.

Prices climbed for the 10th month, rising 1.1 percent to 9,998 yuan ($1,610) per square meter (10.76 square feet) from February, SouFun Holdings Ltd. (SFUN), the country’s biggest real estate website owner, said in a statement today after a survey of 100 cities. That’s the biggest increase since January 2011.

“The earlier property policy uncertainty drove quite a lot of buyers into the market, while supply, usually low in the first quarter, couldn’t catch up with the demand,” said Zhao Zhenyi, a Shanghai-based property analyst at Industrial Securities Co. “Home sales will weaken in the coming months as more local governments announce curbs for the cities.”

About 17 cities have issued details of property curbs by the end of the first quarter. The capital city of Beijing banned single-person households from buying more than one residence, while Shanghai prohibited banks from giving credit to third-home buyers, the local governments said over the weekend.

Home prices rose 3.9 percent last month from a year ago, according to the SouFun statement.

gauge tracking property shares advanced 0.9 percent at the close of trading in Shanghai, the most among five industry groups on the Shanghai Composite Index. (SHCOMP) The benchmark measure fell 0.1 percent.

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