Mon, Sep 03, 2012 - Page 14 News List

Chinese Premier hesitant to loosen property regulations

AFP, Beijing

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao (溫家寶) said on Saturday it was too early to loosen curbs on speculative property investment, state media reported, as authorities keep a tight grip over China’s once red-hot housing sector.

Wen, who was inspecting an affordable housing project, said government efforts to rein in runaway housing prices had been largely successful, Xinhua news agency said.

“However, the controls over the real-estate market are still in a critical period,” Wen said in the port city of Tianjin.

His comments come after Xinhua reported last month that China was studying new measures to beef up controls on the property sector, amid signs housing prices were bouncing back.

New home prices doubled from 25 out of 70 cities tracked by the government, to 50 from June to July, the latest official data showed. The government has been tightening policies for more than two years. Measures include prohibitions on buying second homes, an increase in minimum down payments and the introduction of property taxes in certain areas.

Wen also said increasing the supply of homes to the market would be important in consolidating the stabilizing of housing prices, Xinhua reported.

He said China had begun work on more than 21 million affordable homes from 2009 to last year, with half the total already built.

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