BEIJING, June 18 (Xinhua) -- China's property sector continued to cool in May, as new home prices in half of a sample of 70 major cities showed month-on-month drops, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said in an online statement on Wednesday.
Thirty-five cities saw month-on-month drops in new home prices last month, contrasted with eight in April. Only 15 cities saw month-on-month increases, substantially down from 44 in April.
The average home price in the 70 cities slipped 0.15 percent from the previous month, marking the first drop in more than a year, according to the NBS.
The average new home price in April increased 0.06 percent month on month.
Of all the 70 cities, prices in Hangzhou of east China's Zhejiang Province dropped the most, down by 1.4 percent, followed by 0.7 percent for Shijiazhuang, Wuxi and Xuzhou.
The highest month-on-month price increase was 0.3 percent in central China's Zhengzhou, while the price in Beijing increased 0.2 percent, faster than the growth pace in April, the NBS data showed.
For existing homes, prices declined in 35 cities month on month in May, up from 22 cities in April.
Liu Jianwei, senior statistician for the NBS, said home buyers have started to take a wait-and-see attitude amid uncertain market prospects, prompting developers to cut prices to alleviate pressures from piling inventories.
On a year-on-year basis, however, new home prices in 69 cities of the statistical pool continued to increase, with the highest growth at 11.3 percent.