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Overseas Investors Eye China's Housing Market

United States housing developer Hines Limited Interests Partnership passed the assessment for the Chinese government's "AAA" housing program on Sunday, becoming the first overseas developer to gain the title in Beijing.

To promote China's housing reform, the Ministry of Construction(MOC) began in 1999 a housing quality assessment system granting all qualified housing programs with titles of "A", "AA", or "AAA", as a step to regulate the housing market.

Tong Yuezhong, vice-director of the MOC housing industrialization promotion center, said the housing assessment system in China was not compulsory for all housing programs, only national and provincial demonstration housing programs.

Tong said Hines' application for China's housing assessment indicated the company's great interest in China's housing market.

Hines Senior Vice President James Morrison said China had been an important market for Hines, where more new housing technologies were being used to meet the great demand for improving housing quality.

Once concentrating on business towers and top-class apartments in its global market, Hines turned its interests to residential houses after it entered China.

An official from the Asia real estate investment sector of the Deutsche Bank said more global investors were considering the Chinese market, especially in the field of real estate, a market with great potential for investment.

In the first half of this year, the total investment in China's real estate market was over 380 billion yuan (US$45.9 billion), surging 34 percent over the same period of last year, in which the investment for residential houses totaled 285.7 billion yuan (US$34.5 billion), up 28 percent year-on-year.

(Xinhua News Agency August 25, 2003)

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