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BEIJING, April 17 (Reuters) - Real estate investment in China rose 9.1 percent in the first quarter from a year earlier, official data showed, as the pace of new construction starts quickened despite intensified government cooling measures.
The pace of investment growth accelerated from 8.9 percent in the first two months of 2017, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said on Monday.
However, it marked a deceleration from 10.0 percent in the fourth quarter of 2016, according to Reuters calculations.
New construction starts measured by floor area were up 11.6 percent in the first three months of the year, comparing with a 10.4 percent rise in first two months, the NBS data showed.
Property sales measured by floor area grew 19.5 percent in Janaury-March from the same period a year earlier, down from 25.1 percent in the first two months of the year but still remained at an elevated level.
Real estate investment, which directly affects 40 other business sectors in China, is considered a crucial driver for the world's second-largest economy. But some analysts expect increasingly stringent cooling measures will eventually curb investment and construction activity. (Reporting by Kevin Yao and Yawen Chen; Editing by Sam Holmes)