Owners race to secure property rights

09:38, April 30, 2010      

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Hundreds of owners flocked Thursday to a property rights transfer center in Beijing's Chaoyang District, waiting to transfer their ownership of affordable housing from partial to full ownership status.

The number was almost 10 times that seen in the past, and most people interviewed said they acted on worries over the "changeable" affordable housing policy.

"The early I gain the property rights, the earlier I can rest my heart," said Liu Jieru, who lives in Huilongguan, an affordable housing area in northern Beijing. He asked for a day of leave from work Thursday to finish the transfer, and waited at the transfer center without lunch.

Chen Ronghua, a buyer who paid 3,950 yuan ($574) per square meter for an affordable housing apartment in the Wangjing area in 2002, echoed Liu's sentiment.

"It is hard to say what kind of policy will come out in the future, but I will have my say on the house after finishing the transfer," Chen said. He had to pay about 70,000 yuan ($10,254) to finish the transfer.

According to a regulation enacted in 2008, affordable housing can only be rented or sold by owners who have held a property rights certificate for the house for 5 years, and then only after the owners have made a payment worth 10 percent of the total amount they paid for the property originally.

On the second floor of the transaction hall, dozens of people lined up. "In the last two days, the number suddenly climbed to 200 persons per day, while in the past, it was only about five," Zhang Laijia, an employee with the Chaoyang District Real Estate Trading Hall, said Thursday.

The crowds appeared days after the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development issued regulations aimed at enhancing management of affordable housing.

According to a rule released Monday, buyers will not be allowed to hold affordable housing if they are found applying for it with faked documents, and housing will also be taken back from buyers found to be selling or renting it out illegally.

The tightened regulations came 12 days after the State Council hiked the down payment requirement for second homes to no less than 50 percent, with a minimum interest rate fixed at 1.1 times the benchmark lending rate.

"The transfer fever on affordable housing is a chain reaction resulting from the moves to cool the soaring price of housing," said Yang Hongxu, an analyst with the Shanghai-based E-house China Research Development Institute.

Li Wenli, a sales advisor from HomeLink real estate agency, said she had helped 10 people finish the transfers in the past two days, and it is possible that transferring property rights to affordable housing would be forbidden after the May 1 holiday. Zhang, the trading hall em-ployee, said the office had not received a government notice to end applications.

Source: Global Times

(Editor:黄硕)

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