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Mixed reaction to real estate stimulus moves
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There have been some positive responses to the latest real estate stimulus package introduced by the central government but overall market sentiment still seems lukewarm.

Real estate agency Shanghai Centaline Property Consultants Limited said phone enquiries had been increasing at some of its branches since Wednesday's State Council announcement, mainly from home owners who purchased their properties less than two years ago.

"We expect more home owners who are still in the two-year lockup period to offer their apartments for sale over the coming weeks as tax costs have been reduced," said a spokesman.

The central government's new stimulus package included tax cuts and favorable loan policies.

Anyone who has owned a home for at least two years can now sell it without having to pay a tax. The previous waiting period was five years. In addition, anyone selling a home less than two years after buying it will now only need to pay a 5.55-percent tax on capital gains.

Century 21 China Real Estate, another major property brokerage company in the city, said it didn't expect immediate positive feedback from the market at least until the weekend.

Half of Century 21 branches did not feel any major impact from the stimulus package, while 15 percent said some new policy beneficiaries were now willing to reduce their asking prices. In terms of home buyers, a "wait-and-see" sentiment still prevailed.

"Most clients still remain conservative at the moment and many still prefer to wait," said Ni Kaihua, a branch manager at Century 21. "Some of them are simply waiting for more forceful measures."

(Shanghai Daily December 19, 2008)

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