China's new home prices grew in January although major cities saw early signs of softening, as the government continued its efforts to rein in speculative demand to fend off bubble risk.
The acceleration in prices across the nation suggests moves by provincial governments to support first-time buyers and upgraders by relaxing some purchase restrictions may be further fanning price gains in a market where fear of missing out is strong and mortgage fraud is rampant.
Average new home prices in China's 70 major cities rose 5 percent in January from a year earlier and 0.3 percent month on month, according to Reuters calculations based on the data from the statistics bureau on Saturday.
The government removed the sales prices for affordable housing from the latest monthly calculations, distorting comparisons with previous months' growth data.
Prices in December grew 5.3 percent on year and 0.4 percent on month, based on data which included affordable housing.