BEIJING : China has ordered local authorities to rein in rapid rises in land prices and pledged to crack down on shady developers, as Beijing struggles to keep a lid on the country's red-hot property market.
In a statement posted on its website late Sunday, the ministry of land and resources highlighted the “complicated” situation in the sector and said high prices in some cities had triggered widespread public concern.
The move comes amid expectations that China will raise interest rates as it tries to rein in the property market while also looking to curb inflation after consumer prices jumped 5.1 percent in November, the fastest in over two years.
“Local land authorities should pay high attention to this… and firmly curb the overly fast growth in land prices,” the ministry said, adding it would strengthen its crackdown on land hoarding and speculation.
Cities that have not allocated enough space for low-income housing are banned from selling land for high-end real estate projects for the rest of this year, it said.
Local authorities must inform the ministry of any land that is auctioned at more than 50 percent above the proposed price or that is sold at a record-high price, it added.
Developers that build high-end properties on land that was initially sold for affordable housing projects will see that land repossessed by the government and their income confiscated, it said.
Property prices in China remain stubbornly high despite a range of government measures to bring them down, such as hiking minimum down-payments on all property transactions to at least 30 percent.
In November, prices in 70 major cities were up 0.3 percent from October — their third straight month-on-month rise — and were 7.7 percent higher than a year ago, official data showed.
A top government think tank said this month that land disputes were the most volatile social problem in rural China, as forced official property seizures in the rush to cash in on the market boom have sparked growing unrest.
Channel News Asia