The divergence reflects government efforts to stymie speculation in China's largest property markets through the introduction of restrictions on lending, buying and selling houses that were gradually rolled out from late 2016.
China's property market held broadly steady in November with home prices edging down in major cities amid tough purchase restrictions and a tight liquidity environment, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said Monday.
On a monthly basis, house prices climbed 50 cities out of 70 surveyed by the government.
In contrast, the property market in second- and third-tier cities is showing signs of picking up, with new residential housing prices gaining 0.5 percent and 0.4 percent, respectively, from October.
Home prices in China in November grew slightly faster from the month before on the back of gains in smaller cities.
During the same period, prices rose the fastest in Urumqi, up 1.9%. Among the first tier, Beijing and Shanghai were flat, while Guangzhou saw a 0.1% drop and Shenzhen fell 0.2%, as Dow Jones reported. Prices of new homes increased in 59 of 70 cities in November from a year earlier, compared with 60 in October. They rose 0.5 per cent from a 0.3 per cent rise in October, NBS said.
In comparison, prices in tier-two and three cities continued to outperform, lifting by 0.5% and 0.4% respectively, up from 0.3% apiece in October.