Property tracking system launched
Updated: 2014-05-09 04:01
By WANG QIAN (China Daily)
China's land watchdog has set up a unified real estate registration bureau, widely viewed as a further move to fight corruption.
The Ministry of Land and Resources said in a statement on Thursday the bureau would supervise registration of real estate nationwide, including housing, forests and grasslands.
The system is expected to be well established by 2016, the ministry said.
Experts believe a national system to track property ownership and sales transactions is a key step in combating corruption and paves the way for levying property taxes across the country.
Regulations on unified real estate registration will be released before the end of June, according to the State Council.
The registration aims "to protect individuals' property rights, which is the precondition and foundation of a market economy", the ministry said in April.
It added that more reliable and accurate data resulting from the registration system would improve the administrative effectiveness of governments.
Zhu Lijia, a professor at the China National School of Administration, said that under the new system information would be registered on property purchases and ownerships for everyone, including officials.
"It is a positive step in fighting corruption," Zhu said, although he added that the privacy of those registering would be well protected.
Zhang Dawei, research director at real estate broker Centaline Group, agreed that the system could help to combat corruption. But if it was a prelude to levying property taxes nationwide, it may further dampen the real estate market, he added.
Property taxes are being levied only in Shanghai and Chongqing on a trial basis.
"Many investors are taking a wait-and-see attitude," Zhang said.
Data from the Beijing Bureau of Statistics show that sales of commercial residential housing in the capital fell by 43.2 percent year-on-year in the first quarter to about 1.7 million square meters in floor space.