CURBING housing speculation while extending support for owner-occupier demand will continue to be a principal policy with home supplies remaining tight in large cities as the nation's urbanization accelerates, the State Council said yesterday.
Home purchase restrictions as well as differentiated credit and tax policies must be vigorously enforced and a property tax trial expanded to more cities across the country, according to a statement on the central government's website.
Cities where home prices have increased notably fast should impose home-purchase restrictions immediately if they hadn't done so already and local governments should also set and publish their yearly price-control targets for commodity housing - new homes excluding those built under affordable housing programs.
The supply of residential plots, particularly those for small to medium-sized apartments, meanwhile, should be further increased. In principle, residential land supply in 2013 should meet the average volume registered over the past five years, the statement said.
The statement came just one day after shares of real estate developers and cement producers tumbled over worries of further tightening in the real estate market. There was speculation this might include a cut in the housing provident fund quota, a rise in borrowing costs for second-home buyers, and an extension of the property tax pilot program currently under way in Shanghai and Chongqing.
"We don't expect drastic changes to existing housing controls this year but it is possible for the government to make some policy fine tuning," Fu Bei, an S&P credit analyst, said yesterday before the statement was issued.
Sky Xue, an analyst at China Real Estate Information Corp, said: "The existing austerity measures will remain largely unchanged this year. However, there might be some slight adjustment due to the pressure of price rises in some parts of the country."
Across China, recovery in the housing sector seems to be gathering pace despite two years of controls imposed to prevent speculation in real estate.
The average price of new homes across 100 major cities rose 1 percent in January from a month earlier to 9,812 yuan (US$1,562) per square meter, compared to December's 0.23 percent gain, the China Index Academy said.
Thirty-eight of 64 cities that posted gains saw an increase of more than 1 percent. In December, 57 cities posted gains, with 26 rising more than 1 percent.
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