UPDATE 1-China property investment, sales growth pick up in August, despite curbs


* Aug property investment +7.8 pct y/y vs +4.8 pct in July-Reuters calculation

* Aug sales by floor area +4.3 pct y/y vs +2 pct in July-Reuters calculation

* New construction starts bounce back to positive territory

BEIJING, Sept 14 (Reuters) - China's real estate investment growth picked up pace again in August, as demand held up despite various government curbs, with the economy humming along at a solid pace and putting to bed concerns of a sharp slowdown.

A resilient property market will be good news for China's policymakers, who want to keep the real estate market stable ahead of a once-in-five-years Communist Party congress in October. Real estate investment, which directly affects 40 other business sectors in China, is considered a crucial driver for the economy.

Property investment, which mainly focuses on residential real estate but also includes commercial and office space, saw growth accelerate to 7.8 percent in August from a year earlier, versus 4.8 percent in July, Reuters calculated from National Bureau of Statistics data released on Thursday.

New construction starts measured by floor area, a telling indicator of developers' confidence, were up 5.3 percent in August from a year earlier, after contracting in July for the first time since last September, according to Reuters calculations.

Property sales measured by floor area grew 4.3 percent in August from a year earlier, up from a weak 2 percent growth in July.

Analysts polled by Reuters expect China's home prices to rise faster in 2017 than previously estimated despite a flurry of new government curbs introduced this year.

The home-buying frenzy reached smaller cities offering cheap credit and imposing next to no restrictions, soothing fears the economy would slow sharply.

But China's bubbly property market has also become a major source of financial risk, a central bank official warned this month, adding that Beijing cannot rely on adjustments to monetary policy alone to resolve the "serious" problems caused by the sector.

Some provinces have further ramped up their de-risking rhetoric. Last week, the state assets regulator of central China's Hubei province told companies that have received investment from the provincial government to be cautious about new investments in the property sector and to control risks, state news agency Xinhua reported.

As soaring property prices have made housing affordability a growing problem for policymakers, Chinese officials have also been pushing for more initiatives to increase rental and public housing supply in the hottest markets, which may help spur property investment in the longer term, analysts say. (Reporting by Kevin Yao and Yawen Chen; Editing by Eric Meijer)