Teams go to 16 places to check property prices

Updated: 2011-04-09 07:40

By Wang Qian (China Daily)

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Monitoring most recent attempt to slow rising costs in home market

BEIJING - China's State Council has sent eight inspection teams to monitor the real estate markets in 16 places.

The action comes after local authorities across the country placed limits on the number of houses residents can buy, raised lending rates, set price caps on real estate and adopted other strict measures all with the same purpose: to tamp down on rises in property prices.

The first tasks of the supervisors sent out to monitor local real estate markets will be to listen to local residents' opinions about housing prices and to inspect the construction and quality of government-subsidized housing.

They will also look into the effectiveness of housing control policies, into the means used to keep tabs on the local officials who are supposed to stabilize housing prices, into the effectiveness of loan control measures and into the supply of land, according to Xinhua News Agency.

Among the places that will receive the supervisors will be Beijing and Shanghai municipalities, Liaoning, Jiangsu, Zhejiang provinces and Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region.

Even though the central government has spared itself no pains in trying to tame record-high rises in home prices and to control inflation, housing prices in most cities remain high.

The latest statistics released by the China Index Academy on Friday show the average home price in 100 prominent cities throughout the country was 8,738 yuan ($1,324) a square meter in March, about 0.59 percent more than it had been in February.

Among the cities, 82 saw an increase in local housing prices. Of those, most were second- and third-tier cities; Baoding, Hohhot, Zhongshan, Jilin, Weifang, Nantong and Kunshan led the pack.

Meanwhile, in the first-tier cities of Beijing, Guangzhou and Shenzhen, housing prices increased slightly in March - only 1 percent above what they had been a month ago. In Shanghai, they dropped by 0.02 percent.

Even so, some contend the price-control policies have not fulfilled expectations.

Yan Jinming, a land management professor at the Renmin University of China, told China Daily that the public must wait a bit longer to see the effects of the control policies and that many real estate analysts forecast that housing prices in 70 of the biggest cities in China will fall in April or May.

"It is just a matter of time, because the government's determination to cool the real estate market is clear and the control policies are strict," Yan said.

Zhu Zhongyi, deputy secretary-general of the China Real Estate Association, told Xinhua on Thursday that a modest decline in housing prices is likely to happen in the second quarter, although he thinks the chances of a sharp drop are slim.

In the latest price control measure taken in China, the People's Bank of China raised the benchmark interest rate by 25 basis points on Tuesday, taking the one-year deposit rate to 3.25 percent and the one-year lending rate to 6.31 percent. It was the country's fourth interest rate hike in half a year.

By March 31, about 608 cities across the country had released their 2011 targets for controlling house prices.

Some cities set a goal of preventing houses prices from rising by more than 10 percent to 15 percent above what they had been in the previous year. Many experts criticized the plans as being "too loose".


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