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China to Clean up Real Estate Market
The Chinese Construction Minister Wang Guangtao said Friday China is to clean up and regulate the current real estate market, in the areas of housing development, sales, agent market and property management.

In a press conference held by the Information Office of the State Council, Wang said seven state departments including the Ministry of Construction will jointly eradicate the root in the housing and real estate market of China.

Last week, the Ministry of Construction penalized four illegal housing projects, giving a hint of what is to come in a nationwide investigation of the housing market.

According to Wang, attention will be focused on conspicuous problems in the housing and real estate sector, namely, illegal housing developments, the lack of warranties and specifications required by regulation, misleading advertisements, houses with insufficient living space, the disorder of the real estate agencies, unfair contracts and unregulated property management.

According to the China Consumers Association (CCA), the number of cases of illegalities reported by Chinese house buyers in 2001 was 13.2 percent higher than that of the previous year.

There were 17,068 lawsuits in the housing sector in 2001, 35.7 percent more than 2000.

Wang said to rectify and regulate the housing and real estate market is key to the sustained development of the national economy, so with the consumers' interests and social stability.   

The Chinese government has decided to establish an Internet system by October to publicize the names of companies acting illegally in the housing sector.

The government will also enforce the laws relating to the management of the housing and real estate market, said Wang, adding that all illegal operations will be penalized according to relevant laws and regulations.

In addition, the Ministry of Construction will improve laws and regulations. A regulation dealing with property management is being framed and will be completed this year, Wang said.

China's housing industry is now a major booster of the national economy. Statistics show that in the first five months this year, the investment in housing development grew 36.7 percent over the same period in 2001.

Yang Jianlong, an expert with the Development Research Center of the State Council, believes the growth rate in China's housing and real estate industry in the future will be five percent higher than national economic growth.

With increased income, Chinese people in both urban and rural areas will spend more on improving their living conditions in coming years. This will become a huge market for China's housing and real estate industry, Yang said.

(Xinhua News Agency July 6, 2002)

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