By Dominique Fong

BEIJING--The pace of China's housing sales accelerated in June from the month before amid stricter policies to curb heated property markets.

In June alone, housing sales by value rose 26.4% from a year earlier, according to calculations made by The Wall Street Journal based on data released Monday by the National Bureau of Statistics. That compared with a 12.6% gain in May.

For the first half of the year, housing sales rose 17.9% from a year earlier, compared with a 15.3% increase from January through May.

Housing sales growth appeared to be concentrated in smaller cities that don't have as many home-purchase restrictions as in larger cities, where sales have fallen, analysts say.

Analysts expect the pace toslow later this year. Fitch Ratings said in a recent report that tougher property controls on home purchases and tighter credit conditions will drag down home sales growth and weigh on broader economic growth in the second half of the year.

Property investment, including commercial and residential real estate, slowed to an 8.5% gain in the first half of the year to 5.06 trillion yuan. Investment grew 8.8% during the first five months of the year.

Construction starts rose 10.6% from a year earlier to 857.2 million square meters. That compares with 9.5% growth for the first five months of the year.

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

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

July 16, 2017 22:52 ET (02:52 GMT)

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