Speculative housing demand curbed

Updated: 2012-08-18 13:44

By Xinhua (Xinhua)

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BEIJING -- China's property regulation measures have been "carried out well" by local authorities and speculative housing demand has been curbed, according to the results of a State Council inspection announced late on Friday.

The inspectors also found problems that need "particular attention," including recent property price rises, intermittent easing policies at the local level, low fulfillment of housing land supply and weak market supervision in some cities.

In July, the cabinet sent eight teams to inspect the implementation of property regulation policies by local authorities. The teams went to 16 cities and provinces, to assess how well the central government's housing purchase limit policies and differential credit policy have been carried out, and check the supply and management of residential land and the implementation of tax policies.

The municipalities and provinces include Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai, Chongqing, Hebei, Jiangsu, Zhejiang and Fujian.

The inspectors have recommended rectification measures to local governments. Some problems have already been solved and some are being addressed, according to a statement showing the results.

The inspection further indicated the central government's determination to cool the property market, and the central authorities will improve regulation on the basis of the results, said the statement.

New price-control measures may soon hit China's property market, which has just begun to show signs of a rebound following government measures to stimulate the slowing economy, analysts and industry insiders have said.

It is widely expected that new cooling measures will be unveiled before September or October, the country's traditional peak season for home sales.

In some Chinese cities, the need for tighter controls could be pressing, as prospective home buyers that chose to wait due to a tightening market started rush-buying following two interest rate cuts in June and July, which were targeted at boosting the economy but triggered expectations of a warming property market.

In July, average new home prices in 100 major cities rose for the second consecutive month, by 0.33 percent month on month, data from the China Index Academy showed.

China has tightened its curbs on the property sector since 2010, as home prices rocketed beyond the reach of average wage earners.

The government has restricted home purchases in several cities while requiring higher down payments and introducing property taxes. The clampdown has gradually cooled the market.

Many local governments issued clear targets in home price control in 2011, but few goals were declared this year. Some of them even "fine-tuned" their property policies in the wake of weakening local economies.

China's economy grew 7.6 percent in the second quarter, the lowest level in more than three years, sparking speculation that the central government might ease property curbs to shore up growth.