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China restricts land supply amid property downturn

2015-03-27 16:58 Xinhua Web Editor: Gu Liping

Chinese land and housing authorities on Friday announced measures to regulate land supply for residential buildings over concerns of a glut of home supply.

In cities or counties where home supplies are excessive, local governments should "significantly" reduce or halt land supply, according to the measures jointly rolled out by the Ministry of Land and Resources and the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development.

Meanwhile, in cities where there are not enough homes to meet demand, land supply should be increased based on market principles, the ministries ordered.

They did not specify a standard via which to gauge oversupply, but these are expected to be established by the regions themselves.

Local governments have relied heavily on land sales for fiscal income. A Deutsche Bank report in January estimated that land sales account for 35 percent of total local government revenues in China.

A statement released on Friday by the two ministries said the measures are in line with the cabinet's guidelines on differentiated control of the property market among regions.

"The measures aim to reasonably optimize the scale and structure of land supply... and promote the property sector's stable and healthy development," the statement said.

China's property sector took a downturn in 2014 after boom years that saw home prices rocket to levels out of reach for common wage earners. The cooling trend has continued, with both sales and prices falling, and investment slowing.

According to an official survey of 70 cities, new home prices dipped in 66 of the cities on a monthly basis in February. On a year-on-year basis, the prices dipped in 69 of the cities.

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