New blacklist of developers over idle land issued

08:25, December 31, 2010      

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China's land use watchdog released on Thursday a blacklist of 26 cases of land left idle by property developers to curb hoarding and speculation.

Eight of the 26 cases were in Hubei province. Beijing and Shanghai had five cases each, while Jiangsu, Fujian and Hunan provinces had two cases apiece. Henan and Yunnan provinces each had one case.

The Ministry of Land and Resources said on its website on Thursday that local land and resources bureaus must strictly punish the listed companies.

Developers who left land idle for more than a year but fewer than two must pay fines. Those who left land idle for more than two years must return the land, the ministry said.

In addition, all listed real estate developers will be banned from participating in land auctions until the land they left idle is reused.

Local land-use departments must provide timely updates on these developers and land, and make this information public through the ministry's website, it said.

All of the developers on the list left land unused for at least two years. One parcel in Zhangzhou, Fujian province, has remained idle since Aug 22, 1993, and will be reclaimed, the ministry said.

The lands in Beijing should have been developed between 2003 and 2005, and those in Shanghai should have been put to use between 2001 and 2003, the list said.

Three of the five Beijing parcels belonged to the State-owned China Petroleum and Chemical Corporation, or Sinopec. But on March 18, the State-owned Assets Supervision and the Administration Commission of the State Council ordered 78 central State-owned enterprises out of the housing market within 15 days.

Only COSCO (China Ocean Shipping Company), the country's largest logistics company, said it would withdraw from the sector within half a year.

The government has developed a series of stringent measures to control housing prices and curb land hoarding since 2009, as the housing market has overheated in many first- and second-tier cities.

The ministry issued a directive on March 11, ordering developers to make a 50-percent down payment on all land they bought at auctions within a month of signing the purchasing contracts, or they lose the lands and their deposits.

In December, Jia Kang, director of the Ministry of Finance's Research Institute for Fiscal Science, said the trial property tax plan, which targets recently purchased houses, may be implemented in some cities in 2011.

Earlier this month, the leaders of 12 cities and counties with serious illegal land-use problems were invited to the Ministry of Land and Resources for a face-to-face discussion. Dismissal from office is the gravest punishment these officials face.

Although stringent measures have been, or will be, taken, housing prices in 70 major cities in November were up 0.3 percent from October, the third straight month-on-month rise. They were 7.7 percent higher than a year ago, National Bureau of Statistics figures show.

Source: China Daily
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