China is accelerating the process of building a unified national real estate database as part of property market management, even as experts said such an action was unlikely to bring down the housing prices as many may expect.
According to the Ministry of Natural Resources, the database work is being handled by 3,001 property registration stations in 335 cities, who are on average handling 300,000 enterprises and individuals every day.
Gao Yong, deputy head of the real estate registration bureau of the ministry said: “The office will promote the ‘Internet Plus’ strategy with the property registration to further standardize the progress.”
With the property right registered and connected to the unified database, the property rights of the owners will be ensured and traceable. Such progress is believed to be a major step in the fight against corruption and to restrain speculative behavior.
It also sparked discussion on whether such steps will help bring down housing prices or accelerate the implementation of a nationwide property tax.
Zhu Daolin, head of the land and resource department of China Agricultural University, said it will not directly affect housing prices.
“The country is connecting the information from stations across China to a unified database under one single system, and it will not have any obvious impact on property prices,” Zhu said. “The property price is determined by complex factors such as the economic, financial environment, supply, demand and current policies.”
Zhang Dawei, chief analyst with Centaline Property, said the database will help figure out the real situation of the country’s property market and affect market expectations to some extent. However, the action itself is not a direct property regulatory policy and will not directly reflect on the market.
Zhang said only when the property registration is fully implemented, there will be a possibility for the property tax to come into force.
“There will be a few years to go before all the property information can be traceable,” Zhang said. “The property tax will not be coming any time sooner.”
Yang Weimin, former deputy head of the Office of the Central Commission for Financial and Economic Affairs, recently emphasized that it is important to figure out the current situation of the Chinese property market.
“The government is frequently imposing policies to regulate property market, but if we don’t know what the real situation is, how can we make sufficient regulatory measures?” Yang said during a recent industry forum in Shanghai.
He said the country’s property vacancy rate in both rural and urban area is higher than in Japan, which means there are plenty of houses having been purchased for speculative purposes.