CHINA / SOCIETY
Update: Real estate agency responds to employees’ arrest, to strengthen rules against house flipping
Published: Jul 07, 2021 04:33 PM
Despite graduating from some of China's best universities, some young Chinese shy away from the skyrocketing housing prices in first-tier city school districts.  Photo: Li Hao/GT

Despite graduating from some of China's best universities, some young Chinese shy away from the skyrocketing housing prices in first-tier city school districts. Photo: Li Hao/GT

5i5j.com, a Chinese real estate agency, said that the company has always acted on the principle that "houses are for living in, not for speculation," and will continue to work on strengthening internal management to ensure its staff abide by such rules, a staffer told the Global Times on Thursday in response to the arrest of two of its employees for posting inflammatory messages over local house flipping regulations that triggered group gatherings.

"A small number of our employees have failed to abide by the rules despite the company's effort to inform every staffer of the latest government regulation on housing management," Feng, a staffer at 5i5j.com, told the Global Times, adding that the company will strictly strengthen internal management to promote the healthy development of the housing industry in China. 

The police notice, which spread online on Tuesday, said that the housing management bureau of Beijing's Xicheng district, one of the core districts in the city with the most number of renowned schools, has learned about the situation concerning the two brokers, Beijing Daily reported on Wednesday. 

The Xicheng housing management bureau has launched an investigation into the 5i5j case and suspended operation of the branch that the two brokers worked at. 

Practicing certificates for the two agents have been suspended, and the Beijing Real Estate Agency Association will restrict their practices in the field. 

The bureau has issued a statement to prohibit "school district houses" as the selling point for real estate agencies, to crack down on orders whose prices are significantly higher than market prices, and to ban any activities driving up prices in school district housing. 

House flipping in the neighborhoods where highly sought-after schools are located has always been a troublesome phenomenon in big cities in China such as Beijing and Shanghai. This is especially because school admissions are decided by the proximity of the students' residential addresses. Therefore, apartments near popular schools tend to have soaring high prices because demand outstrips supply.

To rein in on home prices in these areas, Beijing launched a special rectification on real estate market orders in April that stated, as one of the key management areas, to strictly prohibit speculation in school district houses. 

Following the move, special law enforcement inspections were initiated in a number of districts including Haidian, Xicheng and Dongcheng, where most popular schools are located. 

So far six housing agency branches have been shut down, bringing the total to 17. 

Despite the crackdown from authorities on housing speculation, some agencies and brokers continue to hype school district houses as "the admission tickets to famous schools," or "a perfect investment choice."

Global Times


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