By Dominique Fong

BEIJING--The growth of home prices in China held about steady in June, propped up by continued gains in smaller cities that have more relaxed property policies.

The average price of new homes in 70 cities rose 0.7% in June from May, excluding government-subsidized housing, according to calculations from The Wall Street Journal based on data released Tuesday by the National Bureau of Statistics. That compares with a 0.75% on-month gain in May.

On a yearly basis, average new home prices rose 9.6% in June, compared with a 9.7% increase in May.

The NBS said as a result of cities implementing real-estate policy controls, property markets in 15 first- and second-tier cities "continued to maintain a stable situation."

Growth was split between smaller, inland cities and big, coastal ones, data showed.

The divergence highlights government efforts to cool frothy markets in big cities and to keep policies relaxed in smaller ones to help clear out excess inventory. The gap also shows the government's challenge of keeping the housing market robust--it accounts for nearly a third of China's GDP--without causing asset bubbles.

Most of the home-price growth in June from May was concentrated in smaller Chinese cities. Inland industrial city Luoyang had the largest increase of 2.4%, followed by Bengbu's 2.1% gain.

Home prices in large cities, meanwhile, were about flat for the same period. Guangzhou had a 0.5% gain, while prices held steady or fell in Shenzhen, Shanghai and Beijing.

New home prices rose in 60 of 70 cities in June from a month earlier, compared with 56 cities in May. Prices of new homes increased in 70 cities in June from a year earlier, compared with 69 in May.

Write to Dominique Fong at dominique.fong@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

July 17, 2017 22:44 ET (02:44 GMT)

Copyright (c) 2017 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.