Xiongan New Area restricts housing purchase, construction

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The preparatory committee of the Xiongan New Area in North China’s Hebei province said Tuesday night to control illegal land and housing purchase as well as construction.

China announced on Saturday to establish the Xiongan New Area, a landmark new economic zone near Beijing designed to integrate the capital with its surrounding areas.

The announcement attracted investors to swarm into the counties of Xiongxian, Rongcheng and Anxin in the new area, and drove up housing prices there, the committee said in a statement.

The committee warned all forms of illegal trade of properties are not protected by law, and vowed to crack down on illegal construction and trading of second-hand houses.

The committee said it will strictly implement the central authorities’ guideline that says “houses are for living in, not for speculating with.”

According to a report by The Guardian, bargain hunters reacted immediately to the hyperbole, flocking to the region in their droves to hoover up homes they hoped to resell for huge profits.

Local media reports claimed property prices nearly doubled in the hours after the surprise announcement.

“I was so excited that I didn’t sleep the whole night”, one would-be buyer, named as Chen Bo, told the Beijing News, according to state broadcaster CGTN. “The plan is a pie falling from the sky”.

Bloomberg reported that the scramble for property caused gridlock on roads leading into the area while local hotels were flooded with guests.

Local estate agents were forced to close on Monday after the government introduced an emergency sales ban in response to a surge in interest. Reuters said officials took to the streets with loudhailers to shout warnings against illegal property speculation.

The online frenzy was such that propaganda officials reportedly ordered Chinese websites to “to control negative commentary related to the establishment [of the new city]”.

The buzz surrounding Xiongan stems from the very public backing it has received from China’s leaders. CGTN claimed there were signs the city would become “China’s next Pudong”, a reference to Shanghai’s skycraper-packed east-side which was farmland just a few decades ago.

China Daily | Xinhua

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