China's home prices rose at their fastest clip in almost two years in February thanks to red-hot demand in big cities, but risks of overheating in some places combined with weak growth in smaller cities threaten to put more stress on an already slowing economy.

Average new home prices in 70 major cities climbed 3.6 percent in February from a year ago, quickening from January's 2.5 percent rise, according to Reuters calculations based on data released by the National Statistics Bureau (NBS) on Friday.

That was the quickest year-on-year increase since June 2014, and encouragingly, 32 of 70 major cities tracked by the NBS saw annual price gains, up from 25 in January.


But the divergence in home prices - surging values in bigger cities and depressed markets in smaller cities plagued by a supply glut - makes Beijing's job harder as it looks to reanimate growth without inflating asset bubbles.

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