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UPDATE 1-China home price growth slows slightly in August as curbs bear down

(Adds market reaction, detail, background)

* Aug new home prices +0.2 pct m/m vs +0.4 pct in July - Reuters calculation

* Aug new home prices +8.3 pct y/y vs +9.7 pct in July - Reuters calculation

BEIJING, Sept 18 (Reuters) - China's property price growth slowed but remained firm in August despite stiff curbs to dampen speculative demand, suggesting the sector held up well with few risks of a severe correction many fear would blight the economy.

Average new home prices in China's 70 major cities rose 0.2 percent in August, lower than the previous month's reading of 0.4 percent, National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) data showed on Monday.

The Hong Kong-listed shares of Chinese property developers jumped on the news.

China's top three developers by sales, Country Garden <2007.HK, China Vanke 2202.HK and China Evergrande 3333.HK rose 3.4 pct, 4.1 pct and 2.6 pct respectively.

More than 45 major cities have imposed restrictive policies of different intensity to curb fast-rising prices, with most of the latest round of measures introduced in late March.

These measures have started to take some heat out of the market as sales growth has slowed from peak levels seen at the start of the year, but buyer demand appeared to be more resilient than expected.

Southern boomtown Shenzhen, which borders Hong Kong, saw its prices fall 1.9 percent from a year earlier, the first annual fall since March 2015, while its monthly decline further deepened to 0.4 percent from July.

Meanwhile, prices in Shanghai and Beijing rose 2.8 percent and 5.2 percent, respectively, from a year earlier, while their monthly growth both remained unchanged.

On the other hand, Guilin, a tier-3 city in southern China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, was the top price performer in August, according to the NBS data.

China's real estate investment growth picked up pace again in August as demand held up despite various government curbs, unlike factory output, fixed asset investment and retail sales which fell short of expectations.

As China has moved to implement a city-based approach to tackle its polarized market, home prices in many smaller cities with no purchase restrictions in place picked up visibly while prices were flat or declined slightly month-on-month in most of the biggest cities.

Nearly a third of Chinese households believe housing prices will keep rising in the coming quarter, despite state moves to cool down the market, a survey by China's central bank showed on Friday.

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

Household loans, mostly mortgages, rose to 663.5 billion yuan in August from 561.6 billion yuan in July, according to Reuters calculations based on the central bank's data.

Short-term household loans in August doubled from July to 216.5 billion yuan, reflecting a surge in consumer lending as some home buyers may have turned to short-term consumer loans due to curbs on mortgages, analysts said.

Compared with a year earlier, August new home prices rose 8.3 percent, decelerating from July's 9.7 percent gain, likely due to a high base effect, according to Reuters calculations based on the NBS survey. (Reporting by Yawen Chen and Ryan Woo; Editing by Eric Meijer)