At the end of March, China's newly installed premier Li Keqiang publicly reiterated the government's determination to rein in rising property prices and a resurgent investment binge in the country's real estate market.
But by every measure the market continued to boom in April, with prices, sales and investment in new buildings all accelerating from March.
New house prices in 70 major cities rose by an average of 4.3 percent in April from a year earlier, accelerating from 3.1 percent in March, according to estimates from Nomura based on partial data provided by China's National Bureau of Statistics.
"April's data show that there has been no slowdown and the housing price increase was as strong if not stronger than in previous months," said Du Jinsong, a real estate analyst at Credit Suisse. "Even as investment has slowed down in most other parts of the economy it remains high in real estate."
(Read More: China April Housing Inflation Quickens)
That apparent contradiction provides one possible explanation for why Mr. Li's efforts to curb surging real estate prices and investment seem to have been so ineffective.
With trade, manufacturing, investment and consumption all performing worse than Beijing would like, the country's new leaders, who took over officially in March, feel they have little option but to let the property market froth a little to shore up headline growth.
In what many analysts have interpreted as an undeclared policy reversal, Mr. Li quietly dropped all reference to reining in the property market in a prominent economic policy speech he made in late April.
"In April the only bright spot in China's economy was the property sector, with property sales and new construction starts very strong," said Wang Tao, chief China economist at UBS in Hong Kong. "The leadership has a dilemma – they don't want a property bubble but at the same time they don't want to kill the sector and see property activity drop in the current weak environment."
The central government has actually been trying to bring down overheated real estate prices and adjust the structure of the market since 2010, with varying degrees of success.
Officials did manage to halt the doubling and tripling of prices seen in some regional property markets in the wake of the global financial crisis but only after many cities imposed draconian bans on price rises or purchases of second homes.
A major problem for the central government is that regional and local officials have little incentive to cool down the sector, which provides them with their biggest source of revenue.
Cash-strapped local governments are not allowed to directly raise money from capital markets and the bulk of their normal tax revenues are supposed to be handed over to the central government for redistribution.