Staff work at a construction site for affordable housing in Nantong, East China's Jiangsu Province on January 1. Photo: IC
China will establish a new bureau specifically designed for property registration this year in a push to facilitate property management reform, the Ministry of Land and Resources
(MLR), the country's top land regulator, said over the weekend, according to the Xinhua News Agency.
On top of the establishment of the new bureau, relevant regulations that will lay the ground for a unified registration system will be released this year, Xu Deming, vice minister of land and resources, said Saturday at a two-day annual work conference.
Information registration platforms will also be established to help build the unified system.
An exact timetable for the long-anticipated system was not revealed, and the report gave no clues as to which government bodies will administer the new bureau.
City- and county-level governments should give priority to the establishment of the unified system as part of their efforts to facilitate reforms of local government functions, while big cities that are ready for a unified registration regime will be in the vanguard of the push, according to Xu.
The MLR's statement came after a State Council meeting held on November 20, 2013, which called for a nationwide property registration system to be set up.
The move is seen as part of the drive to expand the property tax nationwide, which could help cool the country's overheated housing market, industry observers said, while noting that implementation of the registration system is unlikely to have an immediate effect in cutting home prices.
Setting up the new bureau and other efforts to complete the registration system will offer a solid database for the country's property tax rollout, Liu Yuan, a senior research manager at Centaline China Real Estate in Shanghai, told the Global Times Sunday.
"People considering purchasing multiple properties might be put off," Liu noted, while commenting that the system would have an impact on the expectations of homebuyers rather than being a short-term shock for the property market.
The registration system will bring more transparency to the property sector, Hui Jianqiang, research director with real estate information provider Beijing Zhongfangyanxie Technology Service, told the Global Times Sunday.
However, "it won't be the sole deciding factor for home prices," said Hui.
Price fluctuations are still based mainly on the law of supply and demand, Hui told the Global Times Sunday, downplaying hopes of any imminent price drops after the system is put into place.
Home prices in major Chinese cities continued rising in November, with data from the National Bureau of Statistics showing that 66 out of 70 major cities posted a month-on-month increase, up from 65 in October.
On a year-on-year basis, all the 70 cities except Wenzhou in East China's Zhejiang Province saw rises in new home prices in November.
The figures for December are due to be released on Saturday. Land controls needed amid reform drive, says minister
Urban citizens must be prevented from buying rural land and building houses on it, Jiang Daming, minister of land and resources, said Friday at the two-day national land conference, the Xinhua News Agency reported.
The buying of rural property runs counter to urbanization, the minister said.
However, real estate mogul Ren Zhiqiang, chairman of Huayuan Property Co, commented Sunday on his Weibo that it is a misunderstanding to judge urbanization on the basis of where people live.
Jiang also said that despite land reform measures, the collectively owned rural land ownership structure will not be changed.
The country's arable land, grain output and farmers' benefits will be well protected amid the reform drive, he noted.
The minister also said land use in cities with more than 5 million residents will be limited, in order to protect farmland from being eroded.