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[Shenzhen] Expats forbidden to buy multiple homes
Latest Updated at 2007-July-11 15:48:12
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EXPATRIATES and residents of Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan can now only buy one property for their own use in Shenzhen, the local housing authorities announced yesterday (July 10).

However, market analysts say the move, effective immediately, which aims to cool speculative investment, will not bring down property prices which have soared 50 percent in the first half of the year.

Overseas homebuyers are also required to sign a declaration that the property they are buying will be their first home in the city, according to the new regulation.

Foreigners, meanwhile, can only buy a home in the city after they have worked or studied in the city for a year. They are required to provide a work contract, employment certificate or a study certificate to the authorities when buying an apartment.

鈥淚 can understand the new regulation, because property prices have gone up like crazy in the city,鈥 said Vinu Somaya, an Indian manager.

鈥淏ut this regulation may cause great inconvenience to husbands and wives who jointly own one property and work in two places,鈥 he said.

鈥淚f your home is in Shekou and your wife鈥檚 office moves to Luohu, you鈥檒l have no choice but to pay the high rent,鈥 he said.

Chuck Steinberg, an American, said it was unfair to restrict foreigners from buying more than one home. Foreigners are not the only ones causing the speculation, he complained.

Official statistics show that 7 to 8 percent of homebuyers in Shenzhen are overseas Chinese and expatriates. 鈥淔or financial safety and the healthy development of the real-estate market, it鈥檚 necessary to issue this rule at this time,鈥 said Wang Feng, vice director of the government-run Shenzhen Real-Estate Research Center.

But market analysts doubt the policy鈥檚 effect. Yao Ming, head of the Futian branch of City Integrated Residential Services (CIR), a housing agent, said the new regulation would have little effect on housing prices. 鈥淭o cool down the market, the government has to work on many different aspects,鈥 he said.

Yao, however, believes the new policy will greatly affect overseas investors if it is properly implemented.

Futian is a popular place for foreigners and overseas Chinese to live, said Yao. About 20 to 30 percent of Futian homes sold by CIR are bought by expatriates and overseas Chinese. 鈥淪ome customers have bought as many as 30 houses each,鈥 he said.

But Yao doubted whether the rule would be properly implemented. The government banned foreigners who had lived in Shenzhen for less than a year from buying a home last year, but in reality, a foreigner could buy a home the day after they arrive if they have the money, he said.

Statistics from the municipal housing and land resources bureau show that the average price of new homes in Shenzhen reached 15,487 yuan (US$2,038) per square meter June 21, 1,264 yuan higher than in May and up 50 percent from January when the average price was 10,670 yuan per square meter.

Editor: Wing

By: Helen Deng Source: Szdaily web edition

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