Circle closes on Xiongan housing

Updated 2017-04-07 10:01:06 Global Times
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Nearby gov'ts crack down on speculative buying; stricter measures may follow, experts say

At least 10 neighborhoods on the perimeter of the Xiongan New Area in North China's Hebei Province have issued housing purchase restrictions as of Thursday, amid surging home prices.

Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli said that governments should strictly control large-scale property development in the Xiongan area, the Xinhua News Agency said Thursday.

Zhang made the remarks at a conference held in Beijing on promoting coordinated development of the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region.

Gaoyang county, 40 kilometers southwest of Xiongan, announced curbs on Thursday, marking the completion of a circle of areas around the new economic zone where the housing markets are now regulated, local news portal gaoyang.ccoo.cn reported.

The Xiongan New Area, which was announced on Saturday, is about 100 kilometers southeast of Beijing, and it will span three counties (Xiongxian, Rongcheng and Anxin) that sit at the center of the triangular area formed by Beijing, Tianjin and Shijiazhuang, Hebei's provincial capital.

On Wednesday, areas near Xiongan including Bazhou, Xushui and Renqiu imposed strict bans on home sales.

Bazhou limited buyers without local household registrations (hukou) to one apartment with a down payment of at least 50 percent. In addition, such buyers must have continuously paid personal income taxes or social security fees for at least 12 months, the local government said in a statement on its website.

“In the past week, we have had an increasing number of homebuyers who are not from the local area. They were from other places including Beijing, Tianjin, [East China's] Shandong Province and [East China's] Jiangsu Province,” Liu Hai, an agent from a real estate agency in Bazhou, told the Global Times Wednesday.

“We don't have anything to sell. About 200 buyers have left their contact information and we will inform them if anything comes up,” Liu said.

“As the local governments started restricting home purchase, we now have to return deposits to five customers who are not qualified to buy a home in Bazhou,” Liu said, noting that he had made 15 deals with buyers who do not have local hukou in the last three days.

During the past week, the average housing prices in Bazhou surged around 45 percent to 13,000 yuan (,884) per square meter, he said, noting that prices had not risen even further thanks to timely restriction policies.

Experts said that there will be no room for speculative buying near or in the Xiongan New Area as local governments are beefing up efforts to regulate the housing markets.

Xushui, about 50 kilometers west of Xiongxian, also vowed to restrict home purchases for nonlocal buyers on Wednesday.

A nonlocal homebuyer who declined to be identified told the Global Times on Wednesday that “I arrived at Xushui on Tuesday, only to find there was no house to buy and real estate agents refused to provide any information.”

A security guard at a property project named Longdi Garden in Xushui told the Global Times on Wednesday that “there were homebuyers who crowded into the sales office yesterday afternoon, but now the office has been sealed by the local authorities.”

Chen Juntao, an industrial independent analyst, said that it will become true that “homes are for living instead of for speculating,” which was proposed by President Xi Jinping at the Central Economic Work Conference held in late December.

As the Xiongan New Area is “a strategy crucial for the next millennium,” the local housing markets should not be judged from past experience, Chen told the Global Times Thursday, noting that houses will be built in the area but might not be built for sale. “Renting may become a choice,” he said.

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