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Taxes Levied on Unused Houses Proposed

A member of China's top advisory body suggested taxes be levied on unused apartments and houses to curb speculation in the real estate market.


Guo Songhai, director of real estate economy research institute under the Shandong Economy College, proposed to the Third Session of the Tenth National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) that governments should set forth policies on constructing more affordable houses.


"Houses are special commodities and should not be speculated like virtual products such as stocks," said the real estate expert, showing great concerns about the escalating real estate prices.


Statistics show that 97.48 million square meters of commercial buildings were unused by September 2004. Some 57.36 million square meters of residential housing were unoccupied.


According to Guo, some rich people purchase houses not for personal usage and many of the houses are shelved or used for speculation.


"Buying a house without using it is a waste of resources and people should pay taxes for such behavior," said the CPPCC member, citing the measure adopted in France in handling similar problems.


The proposal also aimed to weed out bubbles in the real estate market and curb housing price hiking, said Guo.


(Xinhua News Agency March 8, 2005)


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