Investment in the Chinese property market has stayed robust in the first quarter of 2017, compared to this time last year.

Official data has showed that the new rate of new construction has quickened, despite increased cooling measures.

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According to the Chinese National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), growth in property investment (which includes residential, commercial and office spaces) accelerated to 9.1% from 8.9% in the first two months of 2017.

A calculation by Reuters, based on the NBS data, has showed that property investment growth rose to 9.4% in March alone.

While the majority of analysts agree that an overheating property market poses the single biggest risk to China’s economic growth, policymakers are expecting to see some moderation in property activity.

“Because the latest round of cooling measures came out after March 17, their impact on the entire economy including home prices may show in April or later,” commented Mao Shengyong, a spokesman from China’s statistics bureau. He added that property is for habitation – not for speculative investment.

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The Chinese housing minister, Chen Zhenggao, was quoted at saying last month that house prices would remain stable in the first quarter of 2017. He also added that the government had the capacity and methods to stabilise the property market if necessary.

Robust investment and new construction starts in the first quarter defied a slowing trend in sales measured by floor area as the government curbs take effect. Sales grew 19.5% in the January-to-March period from a year ago, down from 25.1% in the first two months of the year.