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Measures to be taken against property price collusion
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China's Ministry of Construction is mulling over new measures to curb collusion in raising prices by property developers, the China Business News reported on Wednesday.


Qi Ji, vice minister of Construction, recently criticized at a symposium that some developers were only interested in building large-sized luxurious apartments for high profit.


Some development companies hoarded land and apartments or spread false information to create public fear for housing shortages so they could drive up prices, he said.


"The ministry is studying relevant policies to prevent developers from colluding in jacking up prices and to stabilize housing prices."


Earlier this month, the State Council, China's cabinet, made amendments to the Regulation on Administrative Punishment for Price Violations to allow more stringent penalties for illegal price manipulations.


"In future, we will intensify checks over real estate companies and enhance punishment. Dishonest developers will be cleared out of the market," Qi said.


"Housing is not a common commodity, but a necessity bearing the basic interests of the public. Developers shall not ignore the people's expectation while pursuing profits."


A recent report by the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) predicted China housing prices would keep rising this year and the rate would be roughly equal that of 2007.


From January to November of 2007, housing prices in 70 major Chinese cities jumped 7.3 percent over the same period a year earlier. Housing prices were up at a rate of 10.5 percent in November alone, a report by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) showed.


The November rate was the highest monthly gain since July 2005 when the monthly housing price survey started.


The government has been trying to solve the housing problem of many low- and medium-income residents by offering more low-rent apartments and affordable small- and middle-sized flats.


(Xinhua News Agency January 18, 2008)

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