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BEIJING, April 17 (Reuters) - Real estate investment in China rose 10.4 percent in the first quarter from a year earlier as the pace of new construction sped up, while property sales slowed in the face of intensified government cooling measures.
The pace of investment growth accelerated from 9.9 percent in the first two months of 2018, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said on Tuesday.
It also marked a quickening from 9.1 percent in the first quarter of 2017, according to the NBS.
New construction starts measured by floor area were up 9.7 percent in the first three months of the year, compared with a 2.9 percent rise in first two months, the NBS data showed.
Property sales measured by floor area grew 3.6 percent in January-March from the same period a year earlier, down from 4.1 percent in the first two months of the year.
Real estate, which directly affects 40 other business sectors in China, is considered a crucial driver of the economy, but is expected to moderate as the government aims to curb excessive funds flowing into property. (Reporting by Elias Glenn; Writing by Yawen Chen; Editing by Sam Holmes)