Average new home prices in China's 70 major cities dropped 6.1% last month from a year ago, the same rate of decline as in March, according to Reuters calculations based on official data published today. 

But nationwide prices steadied from March, further narrowing from a 0.1% fall in the previous month. 

Beijing saw prices rise, albeit modestly, for the second month in a row, while those in Shanghai rose for the first time in 12 months. 

But prices in many smaller cities, which account for around 60% of national sales, continued to fall. 

Analysts said that property investment, which comprises around 20% of China's GDP, may grow less than 5% this year, compared with 10.5% in 2014, knocking 1 percentage point off economic growth. 

Data last week showed home sales measured by floor area rebounded 7.7% in April from a year ago, the first growth since November 2013. 

But property investment growth continued to slow in the first four months of 2015 to the lowest since May 2009 as new construction slumped, impacting demand for everything from steel and cement to appliances and furniture. 

However, government measures seem to be slowing enticing some buyers back into the market. Mortgages rose 2.1% in the months from Janaury to April from the same time a year earlier.

China relaxed tax rules and downpayment requirements on second homes in late March. Earlier this month, the central bank cut interest rates for the third time since November to lower companies' borrowing costs and stimulate loan demand.