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New rule on foreigners buying houses

By Li Fangchao (China Daily)
Updated: 2007-02-03 07:28
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Foreigners who intend to buy a house in Beijing need a certificate issued by the Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau to prove that they have stayed in China for at least one year for reasons of work or study, according to a new rule published on Friday.

A statement jointly issued by six ministries led by the Construction Ministry last July required foreigners to stay in China for at least a year before they would be allowed to buy a house.

The rule required that they only use and dwell in the house themselves and not buy a house for other purposes.

They were also required to use their real names when buying a house in China.

However, property sales for foreigners and foreign organizations came to a temporary halt in Beijing following the statement because it lacked specific requirements.

Friday's new rule jointly issued by the city's five departments led by the Beijing Municipal Construction Committee specifies that foreigners should provide a certificate as to their status when buying a house. They can only buy a house for their personal use, it said.

HK, Macao and Taiwan

Residents from Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions, Taiwan and overseas Chinese should also be in possession of proper certificates when buying a house.

Foreign organizations, that set up branches or agencies in Beijing should provide certificates to prove their legal status in the city and give written guarantees that the houses they buy are only used for their own needs.

Foreign organizations and foreign individuals who want to buy houses in Beijing, other than for their own needs, should apply to set up a foreign company first.

If they want to buy houses to rent or sell or change them for commercial use, they should apply to set up a foreign company and obtain an operations certificate.

Foreign embassies in China, representatives of international organizations and people who enjoy diplomatic privileges should have a note of approval to buy a house from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Inquiries can be made to the Public Security Bureau by telephoning 8402-0101.

(China Daily 02/03/2007 page1)