China to defer implementation of property tax despite surging prices

New properties are seen in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, China, May 12, 2015. REUTERS/Stringer

BEIJING (Reuters) - China has no plans to implement a nationwide property tax this year, the spokeswoman for China’s parliament said on Saturday, despite mounting expectations that such measures would soon be introduced to restrain surging property prices.

For years, China has mulled an annual property tax, which could deter speculation in real estate, though little progress has been made due to resistance from stakeholders, such as local governments who rely heavily on land sales for revenue.

“The implications of these laws are broad and involve multi-faceted interests, so there is much discussion surrounding this issue,” parliament spokeswoman Fu Ying told reporters in Beijing.

“To my understanding, there are no arrangements to bring property tax draft laws before the standing committee for deliberation this year.”

Prices of new homes in China surged 12.4 percent last year, the fastest rate since 2011, leading more than 20 cities to introduce property curbs to cool the market since October.

Only Shanghai and Chongqing have implemented a limited property tax as a pilot program since 2011.

Reporting by Philip Wen; Editing by Richard Pullin