The Chinese government's measures to cool off the overheating real estate market have prompted urban Chinese to reconsider their purchasing plans, according to a survey published on Tuesday by China's central bank, the People's Bank of China.
20,000 urban banking customers in 50 major cities were surveyed in May. The survey showed that only 19.1 percent of the respondents, a record low, plan to purchase houses in the coming three months, down 2.9 percent from the first quarter, or down 2.2 percent compared with the same period last year.
Meanwhile, only 11 percent of the respondents, also a record low, made deposits with their banks to buy or furnish their homes, down 0.4 percent from the first quarter of this year.
The central bank attributed the change to the series of policies aimed at cooling off the housing market implemented recently by the state and seven governmental departments.
However, the survey said that the respondents in seven big cities have reacted differently to the state policies.
The number of Shanghai residents who plan to buy houses in the next three months dropped by 12 percent, while those in Chongqing, Xi'an, Wuhan and Tianjin declined by 3.7, 3.3, 2.2 and 0.8 percentage points respectively.
But in Beijing and Guangzhou, people who intend to buy property rose 2.2 and 0.7 percent.
The real estate market is one of the most sensitive and controversial sectors in China. Residents of big cities are concerned about housing prices, which have been rising continuously since China phased out free, government housing in the early 1990s.
Last year, the country's average housing price rose by 14.4 percent, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.
After seven government departments issued a new policy last month to control China's sky-rocketing housing prices, some statistics showed that the price level in major metropolises decreased, while others indicated no obvious change.
(Xinhua News Agency June 8, 2005)