Residential buildings around West Lake in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province on on May 1, 2017. （Photo/Xinhua）
Hangzhou, capital of East China's Zhejiang province, rolled out an online marketplace for rented homes on Tuesday, the first of its kind in China. The system enables the completion of every step of renting a home on the internet.
The city's housing authorities partnered with internet technology giant Alibaba and its financial services subsidiary Ant Financial to offer services enabling tenants and property owners to verify personal information, sign contracts, and pay rental and commissions online.
"In this way, rights of both property owners and tenants are well protected as the entire process is transparent and effective. Property owners and tenants can give candid reviews to help more participants in the market," according to a brief explaining the mechanism of the marketplace by Ant Financial and Hangzhou housing authorities.
China's national housing authorities said the pilot marketplace will be introduced in other cities when conditions are mature.
Analysts said China's fast expanding residential property leasing market requires more measures and more enterprises to participate.
Research by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences indicates that most of some 250 million migrants are living in rented homes, creating great market demand for quality leasing services in the China market.
Since June 2017, more than 10 cities across China, including Shanghai, Guangzhou, Beijing and Wuhan, have launched a series of measures encouraging enterprises to get involved in the development of residential leasing projects, and encouraging residents to rent a home.
These measures include increasing land supplies dedicated to residential leasing projects, encouraging banks to better finance developers of leasing projects, and giving tenants equal access to public resources, such as enabling them to receive admission to high-quality schools as homeowners do.
"Besides policies encouraging leasing market, which we expect more to come in the next few months, it is essential for enterprises to explore sustainable business models to ensure supplies are stable and sufficient in the long-term", according to a research note by DTZ China.
In key cities across China, private capital is now playing more roles in residential property leasing market.
In the long-term, new laws, financing and land supplies are expected to gradually make the leasing market play a more significant role in the overall housing system in China. In the short term, housing prices and rental prices will not be significantly impacted, according to the research.