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Beijing property expo sees fewer projects from city

By Zheng Yangpeng | China Daily | Updated: 2013-04-12 09:23

Overseas and non-Beijing property projects dominate the Beijing Spring Property Expo, the first major exhibition following the unveiling of housing market curbs in March.

Of around 500 housing projects advertised at the expo, which opened on Thursday, more than 300 are overseas projects and 150 are non-Beijing projects, according to the event's organizer. Fewer than 50 projects are in Beijing.

Still, Beijing projects attracted most interest. Those projects were concentrated in Beijing's suburban counties, with only two in the city's main urban districts.

"I want to buy a new home for my son who is going to get married soon. But these projects are too far away," said a 61-year-old man who declined to give his name. The central government announced on March 1 a 20 percent capital gains tax on pre-owned home sales. Several Chinese cities announced detailed policies at the end of March. Beijing's policies include strict implementation of the 20 percent tax and a ban on single-person households purchasing a second home.

On April 7, Beijing announced further tightening measures, raising the down payment requirement for second-home purchases to 70 percent if buyers use their mandatory provident funds as a mortgage.

"These curbs will basically squeeze investment-oriented housing demand out of the market," said Qin Hong, a researcher with a think tank under the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development.

But the tax also resulted in a pre-owned home buying spree as people rushed to buy, fearing the tax will actually be borne by buyers. Pre-owned property turnover in March tripled compared with February, according to housing brokerage Centaline Beijing.

The curbs also changed the mentality of both real estate companies and buyers. Property companies were more confident about their new projects' sales due to the curbs on pre-owned home transactions.

At the expo, few property companies advertised discounts, which were commonplace at previous expos. Salesmen refrained from telling inquirers the actual price of their projects, and only revealed the price of projects two or three months ago.

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