Beijing's residential real-estate prices hit their highest levels in history in 2014, although the annual transaction volumes fell to a three-year low amid a nationwide slowdown for the sector, reports said Friday. The average sales price of private housing properties in the nation's capital reached 25,286 yuan per square meters ($376 per square foot) last year, up 7.6% from 2013, the Beijing News quoted a recent research report by the Centaline Property Agency as saying. However, sales volumes appeared quite weak for the year, with only 66,078 units sold, the lowest level since 2012. The markets were especially sluggish in the first three quarters, but rebounded somewhat after the central bank eased restrictions on property loans and cut interest rates in the fourth quarter, the Centaline report said. Specifically, the rising prices/falling volumes phenomenon may have reflected the "crowding out effect" of the real-estate sector, especially in the market for existing homes, the report said. Medium- to high-end housing "sold hot," while low-end demand was crowded out of the markets, as prices remained high and the credit support was not suffificient, it quoted Hu Jinhui, the vice president of the Beijing 5i5j real-estate brokerage firm, as saying.
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