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SHANGHAI, Feb 17 (Reuters) - China shares rose to three-week highs on Tuesday, underpinned by gains in property firms after data showed some signs that housing prices were starting to stabilise in the country's biggest cities.
Average new home prices in China's 70 major cities fell 0.4 percent in January from December, a ninth straight monthly drop, but price falls in Beijing and Shanghai eased, raising hopes they may be bottoming out.
But market watchers quashed any hopes for a near-term rebound in the sector, citing a massive overhang of unsold homes.
The CSI300 index of the largest listed companies in Shanghai and Shenzhen rose 0.7 percent, to 3,522.32 points, while the Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.8 percent, to 3,247.43.
It was the seventh day in a row that the indexes have posted gains, marking their longest winning streak in two months.
Among the most active stocks in Shanghai were China United Network Communications Ltd, up 3.9 percent to 5.55 yuan; Bank Of China, up 0.2 percent to 4.10 yuan and Wintime Energy, down 1.0 percent to 4.86 yuan.
In Shenzhen, TCL Corp, down 1.4 percent to 4.81 yuan; Hunan TV & Broadcast Intermediary Co Ltd, up 10.0 percent to 21.54 yuan and BOE Technology, unchanged at 3.09 yuan were among the most actively traded.
Total volume of A shares traded in Shanghai was 22.7 billion shares, while Shenzhen volume was 14.9 billion shares.
Mainland China markets will be closed from Feb. 18 through Feb. 24 for the Lunar New Year holiday. (Reporting by Samuel Shen and Kazunori Takada)