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Housing prices go on rising

By Xin Zhiming (China Daily)
Updated: 2009-12-11 07:51

The cost of the average home in China rose by 5.7 percent year-on-year in November, continuing an escalation that pundits think could carry into next year, despite new policies from the State Council aimed at reining in speculative deals.

The rise last month was 1.8 percentage points higher than the jump in October, according to a statement from the National Statistics Bureau.

It was the ninth consecutive month that house prices rose in the survey of real estate across 70 major Chinese cities.

The sharp increase in house prices came despite the efforts of the Central Economic Work Conference, which concluded on Monday, and the annual work conference of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), which both tried to pour cold water on the red hot property market.

Housing prices go on rising

Delegates at the Central Economic Work Conference decided to increase the supply of ordinary houses and support the public's demand for more non-market housing.

Zhang Ping, minister of the NDRC, said during the commission's national conference on Wednesday that more affordable housing would be made available for middle- and low-income families, and efforts would be stepped up to curtail speculation in the housing market.

Members of the State Council, the country's top administrative authority, decided during the council's executive meeting on Wednesday that individuals will need to own their homes for five years before they will be eligible for sales tax exemption. The increase from the previous minimum of two years was aimed at making it harder for speculators to flip houses in short-term deals.

Despite the efforts, analysts predicted that house prices will remain high during the coming months and said they could rise even higher.

"It is not possible that house prices will fall significantly in the coming months," said Carlby Xie, an associate director with Colliers' North China Division.

New apartment prices rose by 6.2 percent year-on-year in November, the National Statistics Bureau said. That increase was 2.2 percentage points higher than the rise in October.

Prices of ordinary apartments rose by 7.8 percent year-on-year in November, much faster than the 4.1 percent rise in the cost of high-end apartments.

Xie said demand remained strong and developers were financially secure because the country had made huge amounts of liquidity available through its efforts to counter the global financial crisis.

He said that will mean developers will be unlikely to slash house prices in the coming months, even if demand weakens.

State Council policy will dampen demand for second-hand houses, said Yin Bocheng, director of the Real Estate Center of Fudan University.

"But it will not fundamentally change the expectation for further rises in house prices."

The authorities should adopt a multi-layered approach to ensure healthy development of the market, he said, agreeing that the NDRC's plan to increase the supply of affordable houses was a good one.

Housing prices go on rising

(China Daily 12/11/2009 page1)