China new home prices up in February

China's new home prices increased in February for the seventh straight month, a survey showed on Tuesday, positive news for the key sector following a series of stimulus measures aimed at boosting lending.

The gains come as authorities have sought to stabilise China's property market -- a main driver of the world's second-largest economy -- and rolled out new measures intended to encourage migrant workers to buy homes in the cities where they work.

The average price of a new home in China's 100 major cities rose 0.60 percent month-on-month in February to 11,092 yuan ($1,695) per square metre, the China Index Academy (CIA) said in a report, a slight easing from December's 0.74 percent rise.

On a year-on-year basis, prices rose 5.25 percent.

The property market fuelled much of China's spectacular growth in recent decades but hit the doldrums in the past two years, with new buyers priced out despite government borrowing restrictions reining in soaring costs.

The economy grew at its slowest pace in a quarter of a century in 2015, expanding 6.9 percent.

Last month, the government rolled out several new measures aimed at boosting the real estate sector, including cutting minimum down payments to 20 percent for first homes, an all-time low, and reductions in transaction taxes.

The country has a huge inventory of unsold new homes and at a policy conference in December authorities pledged to encourage developers to "moderately cut housing prices" and order local authorities to "revoke obsolete restrictive measures".

At the end of November, China's total unsold commercial and residential real estate stood at 696.37 million square metres, according to the latest available National Bureau of Statistics figures.

CIA, the research unit of real estate website operator Soufun, predicted sales volumes would rise as the new policies took effect across the country.

Worries over a weakening currency and a shaky economy have caused capital to storm out of China, and raised questions among investors about the government's ability to stave off a "hard landing" this year.