March 16, 2020 / 2:05 AM / 20 days ago

China's Feb home prices stall for first time in 5 years amid virus outbreak

BEIJING, March 16 (Reuters) - New home prices in China stalled for the first time in nearly five years in February, according to Reuters calculations, as the property market ground to a halt due to the fast spreading coronavirus outbreak.

Average new home prices in China’s 70 major cities were unchanged in February from a month earlier, compared with January’s 0.2% rise, Reuters calculated from official data on Monday.

It marks the first time home prices stopped rising since April 2015.

On an annual basis, prices rose 5.8% in February, decelerating from a 6.3% increase in January and the slowest pace since July 2018.

Home sales have plummeted in China as the health crisis kept property showrooms shut and potential buyers at home. Officials said last week that the peak of the epidemic has passed, but analysts warn it could take months before the world’s second-largest economy returns to normal. (Reporting by Yawen Chen, Roxanne Liu and Ryan Woo; Editing by Kim Coghill)

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