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Pre-owned house sales soar

By  Hu Yuanyuan (China Daily)

08:22, March 12, 2013

An employee distributes material needed for secondhand home transactions at a housing center in Beijing. Zhuo Ensen / For China Daily

A total of 9,400 homes sold last week in Beijing, a rise of 279.5% year-on-year

Pre-owned home sales almost tripled in Beijing last week, following the latest moves by the State Council to control the property market.

Figures released by the Beijing Municipal Commission of Housing and Urban-Rural Development showed a total of 9,400 apartments were sold and signed online last week (March 2-8), a 279.5 percent rise on the same period last year.

On a monthly basis, the figures represented a 140.5 percent increase on the previous week.

The central government issued rules to further tighten controls on the property market on March 1. It said that homeowners who sell their homes will be levied an income tax as high as 20 percent on the profit they make on a transaction. Prior to the new rules, the income tax levied was 1 to 2 percent of the sale price.

Experts said the new rules have sparked frenzied activity in the pre-owned market, as both buyers and sellers worry about the soaring transaction costs as a result.

"First-home purchasers, as well as those buyers looking to improve their living conditions are the two major types affected by the new policies," said Hu Jinghui, vice-president of 5i5j, a major property brokerage firm based in the capital city.

A survey by SouFun Holdings Ltd, a leading real estate Internet portal, showed that about one-third of potential homebuyers had changed their home-purchase plans as a result of the tougher policies.

Chen Li, a company executive living in Beijing's Tiantongyuan area, said: "I did not plan to sell my apartment before the launch of the 20 percent taxation policy.

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