Housing policy to continue

Updated: 2012-01-13 07:56

By Zhao Yinan and He Dan (China Daily)

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Government rebuffs calls to end restrictions on home purchases

BEIJING - Beijing pledged to restrict property purchases and build more government subsidized housing this year to continue to cool the property market, the city's mayor said on Thursday.

Beijing Mayor Guo Jinlong's remarks at the opening ceremony of the annual plenary session of Beijing Municipal People's Congress were in response to public calls for the city to partially lift a ban on home purchases by Beijing residents who lack a hukou, a permanent residence permit for the city.

The current measures also forbid home purchases by those who have not paid social security or income taxes for five straight years.

Beijing's housing and land resources watchdog said last Saturday that the city will carry on property control measures and bring housing prices to reasonable levels.

"The amount of commercial houses sold last year dropped by 14 percent, and nearly 90 percent of the houses were sold to those who did not have a house last year, and housing prices have dropped by 11.3 percent," Guo said.

Last February, the municipal government issued rules to limit property purchases, which prohibited Beijing families who already own two or more apartments from buying new houses, and those who own one apartment are allowed to buy one more.

Chai Qiang, vice-chairman of the China Institute of Real Estate Appraisers and Agents and a member of Beijing's political advisory body, predicted the capital city's home prices will continue falling in the first half of 2012, given the purchasing quota and other measures the municipal government adopted to rein in speculation.

"However, it's impossible to foresee when the home prices will fall to the lowest point and how much further the prices will fall," Chai told China Daily.

Apart from the restrictions on home buying, Zhang Gong, director of the Beijing development and reform commission, said the city will also offer more subsidized apartments and public rental houses this year, in another move to cool the overheated property market.

About 70,000 subsidized houses will be completed in 2012. And among the 160,000 subsidized houses that will start construction, 60 percent will be used for public rental, said Chen Gang, deputy mayor of the city.

In the 31-page work report delivered by the mayor, Guo Jinlong said Beijing scored an 8 percent increase in the regional output value in 2011, exceeding the predicted rate of increase for the year, which was about 7 percent.