China pledges to contain home prices as property market defies

China pledges to contain home prices as property market defies
17/03/2017 , by , in INTERNATIONAL

China added a pledge to contain the country’s fast-rising home prices to its annual work report on Thursday, as a red-hot property market resists cooling measures and purchase restrictions spread out from the biggest cities.

Several lower-tier cities have raised the bar for home purchases this month as speculators from outside flood smaller markets, with home prices nationwide continuing to rise.

The final version of the government work report said “containing excessive home price rises in hot markets” will be a key focus this year, according to a final version of the report released Thursday by official state media Xinhua.

The first version of the work report, delivered by Premier Li Keqiang on March 5, did not include the phrase.

Home sales surged in the first two months of the year despite government measures, though growth in real estate investment showed signs of easing, according to data released on Tuesday.

Lending to households, mostly mortgages, expanded rapidly last year, accounting for 50 percent of all new loans, and remained high in January.

People’s Bank of China (PBOC) Governor Zhou Xiaochuan said last week that measures to cool rising house prices would slow mortgage growth to some degree, though housing loans would continue to grow at a relatively rapid pace.

Several major banks in Beijing have temporarily stopped issuing housing loans since February, financial magazine Caixin said on Thursday citing bank and property agent sources, though the halt was due to a lack of loan quota, with approval timelines extended but loans still being granted.

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