Govt focuses on housing

10:02, June 29, 2010      

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Developers and homebuyers have started speculating that the policies to rein in housing prices will fade away without having taken effect. But the government "won't give up half way," an official told the Global Times Monday.

"We really don't what to see that the homebuyers and developers enter into a standoff, with sales volumes declining dramatically while home price stays high," said Wang Juelin, deputy director of Policy Research Center with the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development. "To make matters worse, some local governments haven't disclosed how they implemented the policies."

Both homebuyers and developers have been speculating that the government's drive to lower housing prices would lose steam in the second half of the year due to the pivotal role real estate still plays in the economy.

Major government institutions from the State Council to the China Banking Regulatory Commission have taken part in the effort to keep housing prices from rising out of control, to little effect.

The central government, however, is taking a tougher stance this time, Wang said, adding "the possible negative impacts have been assessed and we've prepared for them. Our GDP growth target is only 8 percent this year, which isn't too high."

Wang said that the government is also trying to adjust to the country's economic structure, rather than just trying to suppress home prices. "It's now up to local governments to increase land supply and developers to stop hoarding apartments."

To date, only major cities like Beijing and Shanghai have disclosed details concerning their housing policies. Most other local governments have remained vague.

But some developers, including world-leading Vanke, have already begun to lower prices.

Kitty Cheung, head of investor relations at Beijing Capitaland, said the developers will offer a batch of newly-built houses at lower prices in two or three months. "But the price of apartments in the cities' central areas won't go down," she said.

And Tony Ho, a property analyst with BOCOM International Holdings Company said the developers would face capital shortages if sales volumes keep declining and be forced to lower prices. "We expect that housing prices will decline in August or September," he said.

Source: Global Times

(Editor:黄硕)

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