Housing prices in most large Chinese cities continued their upward trend in August, the National Bureau of Statistics said Wednesday.

Prices of new privately built homes climbed last month relative to the same month of 2012 in all but one of the 70 cities studied by the NBS. Relative to July, new housing costs were up in 66 of the cities.

Prices of existing homes, meanwhile, rose relative to August 2012 in 68 of the cities and were up compared to July in 58 of those metropolises.

Property price hikes in China's most populous metropolitan areas were significantly bigger than in the country's second- and third-tier cities, according to the NBS.

While prices of new privately built homes in Beijing, Shanghai, Ghangzhou and Shenzhen rose by between 18 percent and 20 percent year-on-year, the increase in other cities did not exceed 6 percent.

Housing prices rose for the eighth consecutive month in August despite the central government's efforts to cool the market.

After rising quickly over several years, the Chinese real-estate market slowed slightly in 2010 due to several government-imposed measures such as higher down payment requirements and restrictions on third-home purchases.

But activity in the sector heated up again last year, when Beijing unveiled an economic stimulus program.

The State Council, the country's chief administrative authority, responded by announcing new housing market rules in March, including a new 20-percent levy on sellers' profits. EFE