Although new policies to curb Shanghai's overheated housing market are already having an impact, many potential purchasers say the amended regulations have pushed homes out of their price range
Wang Huiyao and her husband were so eager to buy a home in Shanghai that they cashed in all their investments and paid 60,000 yuan ($9,240) to be given priority in the line for a new development that would be launched on March 26.
After all their meticulous planning and preparation, it appeared that they were finally going to own a home in the city after five years of searching.
However, on March 24, rumors began circulating that the regulations related to house purchases would be amended, making property much more difficult to buy. As a result, property transaction centers in the city were deluged with thousands of prospective buyers looking to seal deals. It spelled the end of Wang's dreams of buying a home.
She only learned of the frenzy on the morning of March 25, by which time the regulations had changed, and, although Wang didn't know it at the time, the property she wanted was now out of her price range.
"We were not sure what the commotion was all about. Did it mean that the property market was overheated? Were people just overreacting? It was hard to tell, so we decided to go to work as usual and buy our apartment the next day as planned," she said.
The new regulations stipulated that people without Shanghai hukou－household registration permits－would have to pay tax for at least five consecutive years before being allowed to buy a property in the city. The previous policy only required two years of tax payments, so Wang and her husband, who moved to Shanghai from Shenzhen, Guangdong province, in 2012, were now ineligible to buy a new home.
Wang has received calls from several agents trying to persuade her to buy an apartment in Kunshan or Suzhou, cities in neighboring Jiangsu province, and suggesting the couple could commute between home and work by metro.
"But the idea of living in another city is not that attractive to us, and property prices in those places have surged a lot recently as well," Wang said.