Home prices in large and medium mainland cities in December rose at the fastest pace in 18 months, but analysts said activity in major cities had fallen sharply more recently after the central government moved to cool the sizzling real estate market.

They predicted that prices could fall if the decline in sales volume continued.

Capital values of new and second-hand homes in 70 cities rose 7.8% from a year earlier, the National Development and Reform Commission said yesterday. That topped a 5.7% gain in November.

Prices increased by an average of 1.5% month on month, compared with a 1.2% month-on-month gain in November.

South China Morning Post