Shanghai Won’t Ease Curbs on Second Home Purchases

Shanghai will only let local permanent residents buy second homes in the city, its housing bureau said in a statement on its website yesterday, reiterating existing policy after earlier reports of changes.

The city government halted a plan to allow some non-local residents to buy second homes, according to a report in the China Securities Journal yesterday that cited local housing transaction centers.

The city had planned to ease rules that prevented non-locals from acquiring second homes by allowing people who have held Shanghai residence permits for three years to buy, the newspaper reported.

China’s housing authorities are cracking down on local government attempts to ease property purchase limits. The eastern city of Wuhu suspended plans to subsidize some house sales last week, three days after they were announced, and Foshan in the south axed its own measures in October. Premier Wen Jiabao said this month that the controls will stay until prices come down to a reasonable level.

Shanghai was one of 40 cities that imposed home purchase restrictions last year. Housing prices in the city fell in January for a fourth month straight, the statistics bureau said on Feb. 18. Liu Haisheng, the head of the city’s housing authority, said on Feb. 23 that Shanghai wasn’t changing its housing policies.

Real estate values across the country are starting to fall, with new home prices dropping in 47 out of 70 cities tracked by China’s securities bureau last month.

Xiangshan county in Zhejiang ended curbs on home purchases this year, the National Business Daily said, citing unidentified people at the local property industry association. An unidentified official from the local real estate management department denied the change, the newspaper said.

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