City dwellers banned from buying farmhouses

Updated: 2007-12-11 22:08

Urban Chinese are banned from buying residential land or houses from farmers, the central government stressed Tuesday, in a bid to control land use.

In a move to clamp down on the illegal development of farmland and improve land use efficiency, an executive meeting of the State Council, China's cabinet, warned that policies on rural land use will be strictly enforced.

State Councilors urged local governments to strengthen rural land management, improve the village and town planning and tighten control over the construction of farmers' homes.

Farmers' homes shall be built primarily on land that is idle or approved for housing and the policy that each rural household is allowed to have only one patch of housing land would be rigidly enforced.

Urban residents are forbidden from buying housing land or homes from farmers, and work units and individuals are prohibited from renting or occupying rural land for real estate development.

At the meeting presided over by Premier Wen Jiabao, State Councilors ordered government departments to strictly examine land use plans and rein in sprawling urban projects.

State Councilors said land could be used more efficiently by targeting unclaimed, discarded or inefficiently-used land first.

China is facing a sharp conflict between land supply and demand, and the area of arable land of 1.827 billion mu, was only slightly above the minimum of 1.8 billion mu (120 million hectares) set by the government.

The government needed to set up the most stringent land management system, take down-to-earth moves against land waste and promote land saving and better planning, State Councilors said.

The government has quintupled tax on the use of arable land for non-farming purposes and is charging foreign-invested companies as much as their domestic peers to protect farm land and better control land supply.

The government has been using land as a crucial macro-economic control measure on top of fiscal and monetary measures to prevent excessive growth in fixed-assets investment and runaway urbanization.

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