18 November 2005

Property outlook index falls in China

China's property outlook index fell for the third month in a row in October, government data showed Thursday, as the impact of policy measures to rein in the strong growth of the sector was felt.

The outlook index, which covers property prices and investment trends, fell to 101.10 points in October, down 0.47 points from September, the National Bureau of Statistics said in a statement on its Web site.

That would appear to be the lowest level in about four years. A government official had previously said that the June index of 101.65 was the lowest since the second half of 2001. The statistics office declined to comment on the data Thursday.

The index has trended lower for most of the year. It fell 3.84 points from the same month last year, the bureau said.

The government, worried that surging property prices nationwide could lead to a bubble, has taken a raft of measures in recent months to cool the sector, including taxing the sale of houses sold shortly after purchase and raising mortgage rates.

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