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China wants housing curbs extended

By Feng Jianmin (Shanghai Daily)

09:45, December 04, 2011

China's central government has ordered local governments to extend restrictions on the property market, some of which are set to expire within coming months.

The Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development has emphasized the need for policy continuity in the property market, and has forbidden local governments from making "directional change," the Legal Evening News reported yesterday, citing unidentified officials with the ministry.

Last year, 48 cities issued restrictions on the number of homes a person is allowed to purchase to curb speculation and control rising prices. Thirty-six of the cities do not have expiry dates for the policies while 12, including Fuzhou, Xiamen and Haikou, set restrictions to end either by year end or in February.

The announcement partly dispelled uncertainties of whether China would continue the tight controls on the property market after the central government pledged to "fine-tune" macroeconomic policies to sustain growth and on concerns that falling home prices may hurt the economy.

But Premier Wen Jiabao said last month that the government will not waver on tightening measures and pledged to bring house prices down to a "reasonable level."

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