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Gov't urged to deprive rights of land hoarders
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The National Bureau of Statistics has officially suggested that the central government deprive those sinister land hoarders of their rights to get more lands for future housing development.

The tough move advised in a latest report by the statistics authorities came in response to some of the notorious land stockpiling cases which were recently uncovered by local governments in Beijing and Shenzhen, where the worst ever hikes of commercial housing prices occurred in the past few years. The two cities have respectively confiscated huge amount of lands that some land developers gained years ago but have left them idled over the years.

According to the research report, the real estate investment around the country is now regaining the skyrocketing momentum of 2003's, which had then prompted the central government to take drastic macro-control measures to cool it down. The report calls on the government to take tougher means to regulate the overheated property market.

The report advices that the land transfer system be reformed in which investors obtain land usage rights through public bidding, auction and listing. Real estate enterprises will be forbidden from participating in land bidding if it is decided that they do not have the capacity to develop their targeted land plots, or if the land plots they already hold exceed the designated time limit.

The government is strongly advised to root out the malpractice of developers hoarding land for illegal profits. Idling land plots stockpiled by developers will be definitely reclaimed by the government.

The report also suggests that instead of asking developers to hand in full land usage transfer fees at one time, the government should levy a land property tax on a yearly basis to prevent property speculation in land transactions.

To date, real estate investment grew 26.9 percent in the first quarter, 28.5 percent for the second half of the year and 30.3 percent in the third quarter. The growth rate is five percent higher on a year-on-year basis, the report says.

( December 1, 2007)

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