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Hot land deals pick up in Beijing, surges seen in other cities

(Xinhua)

09:11, September 27, 2012

BEIJING, Sept. 26 (Xinhua) -- Beijing may see its hot land market reappear, as the capital city recently reported skyrocketing deals nearing the total of all land deals in the first six months of the year.

Ten plots of land changed hands in Beijing in the seven day period ending Sept. 26, marking deals of 11.87 billion yuan (1.88 billion U.S. dollars) -- a figure comparable to 14.49 billion yuan in land deals seen in the first six months, according to data from the city's land reserve center.

Beijing has seen an increase in land deals since August along with obvious price rises, said Zhang Dawei, an analyst with Beijing-based Zhongyuan Real Estate.

The robust momentum, as demonstrated during the recent week, shows that developers now have "passion" in bidding for land, and the land market on the whole is becoming hot, said Zhang.

As there are still three or four land plots awaiting bidding in September, the total deals for this month in Beijing are expected to further increase, he said.

Increased land deals have also been reported in other major cities in August and September, including Hangzhou, Nanjing and Wenzhou, leading to speculation that the government may tighten control measures.

On Sept. 4, the land resources bureau of Hangzhou, capital of east China's Zhejiang Province, issued a notice that the city plans to put 26 land plots with a total area of 858,000 square meters up for bidding "in the near future."

In Zhejiang Province's boomtown of Wenzhou, authorities held a promotion in late August, recommending 52 plots for bidding, the largest package seen in the city in recent years.

In an effort to tame skyrocketing home prices, the government has restricted home purchases since 2010 while requiring higher down payments and introducing property taxes, resulting in a cooled-down real estate market.

However, housing prices have climbed since March, fueled by the central bank's moves to boost lending and buoy the slowing economy.

Average new home prices in 100 surveyed cities rose for the third straight month to 8,738 yuan per square meter in August, an increase of 0.24 percent from July, signalling a moderately warming real estate market, according to data released by the China Index Academy (CIA).

Premier Wen Jiabao reiterated earlier this month that the country still needs to resolutely curb speculative property investment as controls on the real estate sector are still in a "critical period."
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