Beijing Suspends Sale of Site That’s Set to Fetch Record Price

Beijing halted the sale of a residential site yesterday in an area close to embassies that could have set a record price for the capital city, said broker Bacic & 5i5j Group.

The plot in the Chaoyang District would “no doubt become a land king,” the city’s second-biggest real estate agent said in an e-mailed statement, using a term referring to sites that fetch record prices. The parcel’s starting price of 33,800 yuan ($5,426) per square meter (10.76 square feet) would have been 40 percent higher than a site in July, which was sold at a record of 42,876 yuan per square meter, according to Bacic & 5i5j.

Beijing suspended auctions for 10 local land parcels in September after a recovery in home sales fueled expectations among buyers that housing prices will surge again. The government, which introduced new curbs over the past two years, will keep land supply stable and seeks to avoid the occurrence of “land kings,” according to a Dec. 18 briefing transcript on the website of the Ministry of Land and Resources.

“Given the market condition at the moment, the appearance of any ‘land king’ or excessive premium in auctions would more or less affect price expectations in the neighborhood and undermine the effect of property controls,” Hu Jinghui, vice president of Bacic & 5i5j, said in the statement.

Beijing’s land reserve center announced the land suspension yesterday, without citing a reason. The official Xinhua News Agency said it may be related to the government’s remarks on improving land management, citing an unidentified person. Phone calls to the land reserve center went unanswered.

China’s new home prices rose in the majority of cities the government tracks in November as property curbs slowed construction, reducing the supply available for sale.

Prices climbed in 53 of the 70 cities from the previous month, compared with 35 in October, according to data from the National Bureau of Statistics Dec. 18. That was the most in 18 months.

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