By Dominique Fong
BEIJING--China home price growth in May was generally flat versus a year ago, but hope for better economic prospects in some cities fueled slight momentum.
The average price of new homes in 70 Chinese cities rose 0.8% in May from the month before, excluding government-subsidized housing, according to calculations by The Wall Street Journal based on data released Friday by China's National Bureau of Statistics. That compared with a 0.6% on-month gain in April.
Average new-home prices rose 5.3% more in both April and May than the same months in 2017.
Dandong, a city bordering North Korea, had the fastest annual and monthly price growth in May, with gains driven by potentially de-escalating tensions between Pyongyang and Seoul. Home prices were up 5.3% on-month and 11.7% on-year in the city.
Other smaller cities contributed to May's slight momentum. Southern cities Sanya and Haikou rose 2.4% and 2.1%, respectively. Both are situated on the island province Hainan, where the government has announced plans for a free-trade zone.
Meanwhile, price growth softened in China's four major cities. Beijing rose 8.9% and Guangzhou was up 0.1% from a year ago, but Shanghai declined 0.4% and Shenzhen fell 1.7% in the same period.
New-home prices rose in 61 of 70 cities in May from a month earlier--a slight rise over 58 in April. New home prices rose in 62 of 70 cities in May from a year earlier, compared with 59 in April.
Write to Dominique Fong at Dominique.Fong@wsj.com