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Shanghai Sets Rule to Curb House Price Hikes

Investors who make profits by purchasing commercial houses as futures and then sell them to other buyers will have to rethink their business methods after Shanghai legislators passed a rule Wednesday, to take effect April 20, to limit such investment.

Shanghai will learn from Hong Kong's experience in controlling the real estate market and the government will intervene in and limit trading of commercial housing before owners get house ownership permits, said Cai Yutian, director of Shanghai Administration of Housing, Land and Resources.

Statistics show 16 percent of the house purchasing serves investment and speculating purposes, just below the international alarm line of 20 percent.

The rule might also be altered or abolished according to market changes, but whatever measures to be taken, they will all serve to maintain a healthy and sound real estate market, said Jiao Yang, a spokesman with Shanghai municipal government.

As China's economic powerhouse, Shanghai has observed soaring housing prices in recent years. Its commercial housing price topped 5,118 yuan (US$617) per square meter last year, about 24.2 percent or 1,000 yuan up from the previous year.

The growth rate tops any other provincial-level cities across the country.

(Xinhua News Agency April 15, 2004)

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