Average annual home prices in China's 70 major cities remained unchanged in February from a year ago, easing from a rise of 0.5 percent in January, according to Reuters' calculation using official data published on Sunday.

In month-on-month terms, home prices fell 0.1 percent on average in these cities, the fifth consecutive decline in the history of the index. It dropped 0.2 percent in January from a month earlier.

The NBS said new home prices fell 0.4 percent in both Beijing and Shanghai last month from a year earlier, the first time since China started tightening the property sector two years ago.

In January, they rose 0.1 percent and 0.7 percent respectively, from a year earlier.

Month-on-month, home price in February fell 0.1 percent in Beijing and slipped 0.2 percent in Shanghai.

(Reporting by Langi Chiang and Don Durfee, editing by Jonathan Thatcher)