Four Shanghai districts have banned people from overseas from
buying second homes within their jurisdictions.
The move precedes the issue of city government rules for
overseas property investors, which are still under discussion.
District transaction centers in Pudong New Area and Jing'an,
Xuhui and Baoshan districts have stopped accepting applications
from foreigners and Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macau residents who want
to buy a house if they already own a home in the city, according to
staff at the centers.
Transaction centers transfer the title deeds of property from
owners to buyers.
Pudong New Area has also stopped transactions for overseas
individuals and companies investing in office and retail
Pudong said its new policy came into effect in the middle of
last month, while Xuhui said the rules were effective from
yesterday. Jing'an and Baoshan said they halted the transactions on
July 24 when the central government introduced guidelines to
restrict property investment by foreigners.
Under the national framework policy set by six government bodies
including the Ministry of Construction and the State Administration
of Foreign Exchange in July, overseas individuals must live for at
least one year on the mainland before they can buy a house. They
must also promise that the house is for personal use.
Fang Lei, spokeswoman for the Shanghai Housing, Land and
Resources Administration Bureau, said the government was still
drawing up detailed rules, but declined to give a timetable for the
When issued, the rules will cover the whole city and district
governments will be expected to fall in line.
Industry insiders said the central government's guidelines were
difficult to implement because they were vague over the definition
of "personal use."
"That's why some transaction centers have interpreted the
general policy as barring foreigners from buying a second house,"
said an industry insider who preferred to remain anonymous.
"Otherwise, it's too easy for buyers to claim that a second, third
or even more purchases are all personal."
The central government introduced the July guidelines amid
growing concern that the sudden influx of foreign investment would
increase housing speculation.
(CRI October 14, 2006)