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Land sales up in Chinese cities in 2017

Updated: Jan 3,2018 4:16 PM     Xinhua

BEIJING — Land sales increased in Chinese cities last year as the government moved to cool the market with higher supply, according to the China Index Academy, a property research organization.

Land sales in 300 Chinese cities totaled 950.36 million square meters in 2017, up 8 percent from 2016, while sales of land for residential projects reached 354.33 million square meters, an increase of 24 percent year-on-year.

Land sales in major cities like Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou were particularly robust, as local governments increased land supply to cool down runaway house prices fueled by huge demand and limited supply.

In China’s first-tier cities, land sales jumped 46 percent year-on-year to 29.79 million square meters last year, according to China Index Academy.

Boosted by surging sales, revenue from land transactions rose 36 percent to 4.01 trillion yuan ($620 billion) in a total of 300 Chinese cities.

China’s property market, once deemed a major risk for the broader economy, cooled in 2017 amid tough curbs such as purchase restrictions and increased down payment requirements as the government sought to rein in speculation.

Due to these efforts, both investment and sales in China’s property sector slowed. Real estate investment rose 7.5 percent year-on-year during January-November, down from 7.8 percent in the first 10 months.

Property sales in terms of floor area climbed 7.9 percent in the first 11 months, retreating from 8.2 percent in January-October.

With the market holding steady, Chinese authorities are aiming for a “long-term mechanism” for real estate regulation, and a housing system that ensures supply through multiple sources and encourages both housing purchases and rentals.

A report from the National Academy of Economic Strategy predicted that the country’s property market would remain stable in 2018 if there were no major policy shocks.