UPDATE 1-China's new home prices rise at fastest pace in 7 months

* March new home prices up 0.5% m/m vs 0.4% in February

* 62 out of 70 cities reported higher prices, vs 56 in February (Adds details, backgrounds)

BEIJING, April 16 (Reuters) – New home prices in China rose at the fastest pace in seven months in March, data showed on Friday, even as authorities took measures to further curb red-hot prices and clamp down on property speculation.

Average new home prices in 70 major cities grew 0.5% in March from a month earlier, the quickest pace since August 2020 and up from a 0.4% gain in February, according to Reuters calculations based on data released by the National Bureau of Statistics.

On a year-on-year basis, new home prices rose 4.6%, the strongest gain since September 2020 and compared with 4.3% growth in February.

The NBS data also showed 62 cities reported monthly gains, with the number rising from 56 in February.

Tier-2 cities led monthly price growth, with home prices in those cities rising an average of 0.5% month-on-month in March, the NBS said in a statement accompanying the data.

China’s property market has been heating up in recent months driven by a population influx into tier-1 cities and rampant property speculation through the misuse of bank loans. Shanghai and Shenzhen imposed stringent regulations to rein in home prices early this year, leading property demand to spill over into some smaller cities.

Authorities have tightened existing curbs on the property market this year and rolled out new ones amid concerns the housing market could be overheating. Some of the new measures include greater scrutiny on illegal flows of funds and fixed price references for secondary market financing.

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