January 29, 2018 / 12:28 PM / in 3 months

UPDATE 1-Shanghai will strengthen property market regulation

(Adds context, quotes)

SHANGHAI, Jan 29 (Reuters) - The Shanghai government will continue to strengthen its regulation of the city’s property market, Mayor Ying Yong said on Monday, as China moves to curtail real estate speculation.

Ying signalled that the government would continue targeting speculation and soaring prices, echoing remarks by President Xi Jinping last year.

“We must adhere to the position that houses are for living, not for speculation, and stick to the view that the strict control of high house and land prices is not a stopgap measure,” Ying said.

“Lowering the reliance on the property market of economic growth and tax revenue growth is also not a stopgap measure.”

He added, “The strengthening of regulation of the property market is unwavering and will not be relaxed.”

Home prices have surged in China over the past two years, with the biggest cities, including Shenzhen and Shanghai, the first to see huge spikes, followed by provincial capitals and smaller cities.

In response, local governments have adopted measures to slow home property sales, bear down on speculators and check soaring property prices.

Ying said prices of commercial property had been stable last year after a series of government measures, while an index of second hand residential home prices fell month-on-month in November and December.

A top priority for the government this year would be speeding up the development of a system that encouraged both ownership and rental of housing, and change the “over-emphasis” on home purchases, Ying said.

This year, he said, the government will continue to offer land plots for the construction of housing rental units, citing a government report that it intended to build or convert more than 200,000 new units for rental. (Reporting by John Ruwitch; Writing by Beijing Monitoring Desk; Editing by Jacqueline Wong and Clarence Fernandez)

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