China to fend off bubble risk with tighter property rules

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Chinese authorities have said they will head off the risk of a property market crash by stiffening regulation and preventing high land prices.

Regulators from land and housing ministries, as well as the Peoples Bank of China (PBOC), have agreed plans to curb speculation in bricks and mortar, Reuters reported, citing comments on Chinese state television (CCTV).

The authorities said they would stop funds being illegally funneled into property and that capital flow would be more forcibly balanced between real estate and other industries.

CCTV also reported that there would be greater scrutiny of the land market to prevent the underlying cost from pushing up property prices.

The Beijing-based authorities also reminded province leaders to enforce more restrictive lending and make sure building-related regulations were being closely followed.

Beijing has long been fearful that any sudden property crash could restrict wider economic growth and cause social unrest.

Average new home prices in China rose 0.3 percent month-on-month in October, a slight tick-up from a 0.2 percent gain in September. These figures are according to Reuters calculations from China’s National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) data released Saturday.

This recent tapering off in price growth suggests that property market cooling measures introduced in October 2016 have begun to take effect.

Back then, several cities tightened rules for home purchases by increasing the down payment required on real estate buys.

And in October this year, President Xi Jinping signaled that Beijing would continue to manage capital flow into the property market. At the opening of National Congress of the Communist Party of China, which is held every five years, Xi said: “housing is for living in, not for speculation.”

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