BEIJING (Reuters) - China's average home prices are forecast to rise 4.1 percent in 2017 from the previous year, while growth in property investment would rise 5.4 percent, a state-owned newspaper reported on Thursday.


Wild spurts in China's property prices fueled worries of asset bubbles this year, particularly in the biggest cities, spurring policymakers to enforce curbs in more than 24 cities.


"Provided current policies don't change, people will still expect home prices to rise in 2017, due to expectations of further yuan depreciation and more U.S. rate hikes," the Economic Daily said, citing the Chinese Academy of Sciences.


Average home prices across China will rise to 7,435 yuan ($1,079.6) per square meter, while property investment would total 10.6 trillion yuan ($1.54 trillion) in 2017, the Academy said.


But it said the property market would still face downward pressure in 2017, as monetary policy had showed signs of tightening, on top of restrictive housing policies introduced in 2016 that had cooled demand.


Growth in total home sales would slow to 5.3 percent in 2017, with sales by floor area rising marginally by 1.1 percent to 1.3 billion square meters, it added.

New construction starts in real estate were also expected to rise at 6.2 percent on the year to 1.78 billion square meters, it said.

Reforms in real estate registration and residence permits are two key areas for the government to quickly develop a long-term mechanism to regulate the property market, it added.

(Reporting by Yawen Chen and Michael Martina; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)