* New measures introduced in Chengdu, Jinan, Wuhan and
* Down payment requirements lifted in some cities
* Property speculators stoking prices across China
(Adds Wuhan, analyst comment)
SHANGHAI, Oct 2 Four Chinese cities have
announced new restrictions on property purchases as the
government tries to cool soaring home prices stoked by property
speculators in second- and third-tier cities across the country.
The measures in Chengdu, Jinan, Wuhan and Zhengzhou were the
latest in a string of steps to tighten credit flowing into the
property sector as the government tries to balance the need to
prevent bubbles while stimulating economic growth.
The spate of tightening measures over the past two weeks
"shows that China's top level may have reached consensus that
the concerns about overheating in property market may have
overshadowed the concerns about the economic slowdown," OCBC
said in a research note on Monday.
"The shift of policy tone also shows that China is unlikely
to stimulate the economy further aggressively. This may not bode
well for market sentiment in the longer run," it said.
Many mid-tier Chinese cities have become targets of property
speculators looking for the next big thing beyond China's major
cities. Other cities such as Tianjin, Hefei and Suzhou have also
recently rolled out counter-measures to limit purchases as home
The average new home price in 70 major cities climbed an
annual 9.2 percent in August, up from 7.9 percent in July,
according to data from China's National Bureau of Statistics.
Residents of the inland city of Zhengzhou who already own
two properties and non-residents who own one will now only be
able to buy homes larger than 180 square meters (1,938 square
feet), according to a notice posted on the local government's
website late on Saturday.
In Chengdu, the capital of southwest Sichuan province,
prospective buyers will only be allowed to purchase one property
in certain city districts, and those buying their second
property will need to place a down payment of no less than 40
percent of the purchase price, the local government said.
The Chengdu government also said it would penalise
developers who were sitting on land without starting
construction on time as promised and would clamp down on rumour
mongering in the property market.
The eastern city of Jinan said on Sunday that residents who
already owned three properties could not buy more and increased
down payment requirements for those buying their first home to
30 percent from 20 percent, among other measures detailed in a
document on the government's website.
Pictures of hopeful home buyers queuing up in Jinan to
obtain spots in a lottery-like registry system during the public
holiday weekend was widely published in state media before the
new restrictions were published.
Residents of certain parts of the city of Wuhan, in the
central province of Hubei, would be required from Monday to make
a minimum down payment of 50 percent to qualify for a commercial
loan to buy a second home or 25 percent for a first home,
according to an announcement on a city government website. No
loans would be given to residents for third homes.
Non-residents of Wuhan were ineligible for commercial loans
for second homes in parts of the city and barred from buying
third homes, it said.
Home prices in at least one district in Zhengzhou, which
became a symbol of China's property excesses because of rows of
empty housing developments, have risen two-thirds this year to
25,000 yuan ($3,747.56) per square metre on average, a sales
manager told Reuters on a recent visit to the city.
(Reporting by Brenda Goh and John Ruwitch; Editing by
Muralikumar Anantharaman, Toby Chopra and Kim Coghill)