Shanghai Raises Home Down-Payment Requirement as Prices Jump

Shanghai raised the minimum down payment required for buyers of a second home to 70 percent from 60 percent as house prices in China’s financial hub surge.

Counties and municipal departments should take measures to ensure the city’s annual price-control target is met, according to a statement on the local housing bureau’s website. The city also tightened the qualifications required for non-local home buyers and will increase residential land supplies, according to the statement.

Home prices in China’s four major cities jumped the most in September since January 2011, heightening concerns a bubble is forming as the national government refrains from introducing more property curbs that would hinder economic growth. Prices surged 17 percent in Shanghai from a year earlier, the biggest gain in the 70 cities the government tracks, only behind the 20 percent jump in the southern business hubs of Shenzhen and Guangzhou.

“It’s more like they are gesturing that they are serious about property curbs” after Beijing and Shenzhen’s tightening measures, said Dai Fang, a Shanghai-based analyst at Zheshang Securities Co. “The wait-and-see atmosphere may grow a little bit and sales may slow a little as fewer people can buy now.”

New home prices excluding government-sponsored social housing jumped 21 percent in Beijing in September from a year earlier, defying the strictest property curbs among all cities, according to the latest data from the National Bureau of Statistics. The Chinese capital raised down payment for second homes to 70 percent in March.

Local Measures

Former Premier Wen Jiabao in March stepped up a three-year campaign to contain price gains, ordering cities with excessive increases to raise down payments. Shenzhen made the move only on Nov. 1. Guangzhou, now the only of the four so-called first-tier cities that hasn’t raised down-payment requirements from 60 percent, is likely to follow suit, Dai said.

China’s average new home price surged 10.7 percent in October from a year earlier, the most this year, as homebuyers defied the government’s property curbs and developers offered more high-priced apartments to tap demand, according to SouFun Holdings Ltd., the nation’s biggest real estate website owner.

“Fluctuations in home prices have been noticeable this year, and upward pressure on housing prices increased recently with rising transaction volumes,” Shanghai’s housing bureau said in today’s statement.

The city government will crack down on price collusion and violations of home-purchase restrictions and will take measures to ensure the stability of the land market, according to the statement.

Shanghai’s price-control target this year is to keep home prices “basically stable,” according to a city government statement on March 30.

— With assistance by Dingmin Zhang

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