China’s January new home prices fell for the seventh straight month, official data showed on Friday, even as policymakers stepped up support to restore confidence in the debt-ridden sector.

New home prices fell 0.3% month-on-month after dipping 0.4% in December, according to Reuters calculations based on National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) data.

Prices were down 0.7% from a year earlier, marking the steepest fall in 10 months, compared with a 0.4% fall in December.

The property market, once a pillar of the world’s second-biggest economy, has been in the doldrums since 2021 due to a series of defaults among overleveraged developers.

China has been ramping up measures to arrest a property downturn, including ordering state banks to boost lending to residential projects under the “whitelist” mechanism. More big cities have also eased purchase curbs to lure homebuyers.

The country’s central bank on Tuesday announced its biggest ever reduction in the benchmark mortgage rate, although analysts believe its impact on home price will be limited given existing mortgage holders will not benefit until next year.

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