March 27, 2017 / 1:28 AM / 3 years ago

China stops individuals from buying Beijing commercial property

A man walks past an advertising billboard of a commercial property development in Beijing, China, December 31, 2016. REUTERS/Thomas Peter

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - China’s regulators have introduced rules to curb the purchase of new commercial property in Beijing by individuals in the latest step by authorities to cool the market.

New commercial plots can now only be sold to enterprises, public entities and social organizations, said a statement issued by Beijing’s banking, industry and commerce, housing and urban planning authorities.

The statement posted on the Beijing Municipal Commission of Housing and Urban Rural Development website on Sunday said that personal loans for buying commercial property have also been suspended.

China has been trying to suppress home prices over the past year or so, imposing measures such as higher mortgage downpayments to defuse bubbles as the nation’s ballooning debt raised the risk of a property market crash.

Data showed China’s property sales surged in the first two months of the year despite the repeated attempts to dampen it.

Only second-hand commercial property can be sold to individuals, who have to prove income tax payments for five consecutive years and hold no property, the regulators said in their statement.

The smallest unit available should be a minimum of 500 square meters and real estate agencies that falsely advertise commercial plots as housing will be punished.

The Beijing News reported on Sunday that 28 real estate agencies were shuttered for driving up prices, among other things.

Reporting by Engen Tham and Wang Jing; Editing by Shri Navaratnam

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