BEIJING, Jan. 13 (Xinhua) -- Land sales dropped but remained at a high level last year amid government efforts to rein in the property market, according to figures from the Ministry of Land and Resources.
The value of land transfer contracts totaled 2.69 trillion yuan (428.95 billion U.S. dollars) in 2012, the ministry said in a Saturday statement.
The figure was down from 3.15 trillion yuan in 2011 and flat from 2.7 trillion yuan in 2010, the ministry's data showed.
Runaway residential home costs have led to public dissatisfaction in recent years, prompting the government to introduce new measures, such as third-home purchase limits and property tax trials, in 2010 to bring prices down to a reasonable level.
Authorities have repeatedly stated that they will maintain firm control over the market, which once served as a key driver of economic growth.
To boost growth, the government cut interest rates and the reserve requirement ratio for banks earlier last year, leading to a market rebound near the end of 2012.
Local governments also moved to boost their land markets in the second half of last year, as a persistent economic downturn has affected their fiscal revenues.