China underlines land supplies to tame housing prices

2013-02-26 06:09:15 GMT2013-02-26 14:09:15(Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

BEIJING, Feb. 26 (Xinhua) -- In a bid to maintain property market stability, the Chinese government is pressing local planning authorities to speed up plans for land supplies for housing, according to a media report Tuesday.

The Ministry of Land and Resources (MLR) ordered its local branches to report this year's plans for residential land supplies by the end of March, the China Business News (CBN) reported, citing an anonymous official with the ministry.

After gathering all local reports, the ministry is expected to roll out the national plan in April, nearly a month earlier than it did last year, the paper said.

Meanwhile, the national plan will highlight diversity within China, the official said, adding that the ministry will require cities affected by tight housing supplies to increase and stabilize residential land supplies.

The ministry will also impose tougher inspections on cities that have seen rising housing or land prices for more than three consecutive months, as well as require these cities to accelerate the pace of supplying land to bolster market confidence, the official said.

Due to the government's continuous policy controls over the property market, Chinese cities have all failed to fulfill residential land supplies plans over the past three years, the paper said.

China's land supplies for real estate shrank 4.2 percent year on year in 2012 to 160,300 hectares, with housing land supplies plummeting 11.5 percent to 110,800 hectares, the CBN said, citing an internal document from the MLR.

Last week, the State Council, China's cabinet, pledged to strictly implement and improve tightening measures on the housing market in light of faster-than-expected price rises in some cities.

The control directions the State Council named include expanding experimental property tax reforms, ensuring land supplies for housing projects and accelerating construction of government-subsidized housing.

China's housing market experienced a brief cooling-off period starting in 2010, when tightening policies such as higher down payments and restrictions on third-home purchases were introduced.

However, the market began to heat up last year, after the central government put more emphasis on economic growth.

Home prices continued to rise at a quicker pace in major Chinese cities in January. Out of a statistical pool of 70 major Chinese cities monitored by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), 53 saw home prices increase within 2.2 percent month on month in January.

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