Five Chinese cities told to rein in speculation as property prices soar

BEIJING, April 8 (Reuters) - China’s housing regulator told five cities, including the major southern city of Guangzhou, to curb housing speculation as prices soar, Xinhua state news agency reported on Thursday.

New home prices in China rose at their fastest pace in five months in February, official data shows, as red-hot demand for property in the world’s-second largest economy largely eclipsed government efforts to cool the market.

Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development Vice Minister Ni Hong held talks with representatives from Guangzhou, the capital of Guangdong province, nearby Dongguan and the eastern cities of Hefei, Ningbo and Nantong.

The five cities have seen prices rise fast due to spillover demand from tier-1 cities such as Shanghai and Shenzhen which imposed stringent regulations early in the year to rein in home prices.

Ni asked the city governments to come up with initiatives to crack down on speculation. He said they should standardize the development of long-term rental housing, lower rental housing’s tax burden and provide financial support for new citizens and young people.

Average new home prices in 70 major cities grew 0.4% in February from a 0.3% gain in January, according to Reuters calculations based on data released by the National Bureau of Statistics.

China’s property market quickly regained strength last year after the coronavirus crisis, offering much-needed support for an economy that has now almost fully recovered to pre-pandemic levels. (Reporting by Lusha Zhang, Colin qian and Tom Daly; Editing by Nick Macfie)