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Culture Insider: Housing issues in ancient China

By Bi Nan | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2016-10-19 07:46
Culture Insider: Housing issues in ancient China

A scene of Tang Dynasty poet Du Fu's former residence in Chengdu. [Photo by Chen Huafeng/Asianewsphoto]

Now you might think that real estate is a modern economic activity, but you would be very wrong. People have been buying and selling houses since ancient times. While it's true that there weren't these many transactions, but even then restrictive policies did exist to better manage the process. What's more, different eras had different policies.

Let's take a look at some of the regulations.

1. Ask relatives or neighbors for consent

During the Western Han Dynasty (206 BC-AD 24), when Empress Lv was in power, the court ruled that if a person wanted to buy a new house, the new one had to be adjacent to the old house.

The government mandated that each family had to register itself and its real estate assets.

If a neighbor caught somebody cheating then the person breaking the law was sent to prison and all his estate confiscated, with half going to the neighbor.

The aim of the restriction was to help government run things smoothly.

It was during the Tang Dynasty (618-907) that a new housing policy replaced the previous regulation. The new policy stated that anybody wanting to sell their house first had to ask their relatives and neighbors if they want to buy it.

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