Wary Officials May Have Blocked Homeowner Data, China Daily Says

China may have delayed releasing a national database detailing home ownership because officials didn’t want their real estate holdings exposed, the China Daily newspaper said in an editorial today.

The Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development must finish the database that it had promised to introduce at the end of June, the editorial said. It will detail home-ownership in 500 cities, according to the newspaper.

The information is a powerful anti-corruption tool because it will expose officials who own multiple homes, China Daily said. The editorial said rich people buying multiple homes raises home prices and cuts poorer people out of the market.

“It is widely suspected that the government has missed the deadline because of opposition from vested interest groups,” the editorial said. “Admittedly the network-building program is likely to have been given the cold shoulder by local governments, as it will make it easier to track how many properties officials own.”

Allegations of officials investing ill-gotten gains in the property market are widespread. A former bank official from northwestern China’s Shaanxi province used multiple identities to acquire 41 properties in Beijing, the city’s police department reported in January.

No one answered the phone at the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development in Beijing when called for comment on the China Daily editorial today.

To contact Bloomberg News staff for this story: Michael Forsythe in Beijing at mforsythe@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Rosalind Mathieson at rmathieson3@bloomberg.net

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