April 2, 2018 / 10:41 AM / 24 days ago

China's provincial capitals keep up fight against property speculators

BEIJING (Reuters) - China’s northwestern city of Xian will limit the construction of new residential buildings in its downtown area, the official Xinhua News Agency reported on Monday, as some Chinese provincial capitals keep up their guard against speculators.

FILE PHOTO - A man rides his bicycle past a partially demolished building in the middle of a street next to residential construction sites in Xi'an, August 14, 2013. Picture taken August 14, 2013. REUTERS/Stringer

The move comes after Xian, capital of Shaanxi province, announced more property curbs last week by introducing a lottery system for home buyers in the city, in a bid to root out property speculation and market irregularities.

Cities such as Shanghai, Nanjing, capital of Jiangsu, Wuhan, capital of Hubei province, and Changsha, capital of Hunan, have already implemented a lottery system for home property purchases.

Some property developers in Xian have delayed new home sales, offered bundle sales and give home buyers who pay in cash preferential treatment, the Xian housing authorities said in a statement separately on Saturday.

New home prices in Xian in February surged 11.3 percent from a year earlier, data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed, among the fastest growing markets that month.

From January, prices in Xian edged up 0.5 percent, slightly above the national average of 0.2 percent growth.

Separately, the southern province of Hainan banned home-owners from reselling their properties in the first five years of purchase, Hainan’s housing authority said on Saturday.

“The minimum downpayment for non-resident home buyers in Hainan will be no lower than 70 percent,” the Hainan Provincial Department of Housing and Urban-Rural Development also said.

China’s home price growth began to slow in the second half of last year as the government sought to deal with bubbles in its property markets, following almost two years of rapid expansion.

Policymakers have vowed to back stable and healthy development of the property market this year, emphasizing that homes are for living in, not speculative investment.

Reporting by Stella Qiu and Ryan Woo; Editing by Jacqueline Wong

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