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China's vice premier urges tough property controls in new economic zone
April 6, 2017 / 2:24 AM / 8 months ago

China's vice premier urges tough property controls in new economic zone

BEIJING (Reuters) - China’s vice premier on Thursday called for strict controls on property development in Xiongan, a new special economic zone in the northern province of Hebei, the official Xinhua news agency said.

A general view shows a residential area of Pudong district in Shanghai, China April 4, 2017. REUTERS/Aly Song

“We want a reasonable pace of development, we need to strictly forbid large-scale real estate developments,” the agency quoted Zhang Gaoli as telling a conference on efforts to integrate the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region.

Housing prices in the area needed to be strictly controlled and efforts to play the housing market would not be tolerated, he added.

Saturday’s news of development plans sent bargain-hunters flocking to the area of roughly 100 sq km (39 sq miles), leading to a near doubling in average prices of apartments by Sunday.

China hopes to develop Xiongan into a global city, said Zhang Junkuo, Vice Minister at the Development Research Center of China’s State Council, or cabinet, Xinhua said in a separate report.

But its economic development, including efforts to build a robust and skilled labor force, lags behind other global cities and the Chinese cities of Beijing and Tianjin, Zhang said.

On Thursday, China’s central bank barred real estate agents from deceiving buyers into believing that commercial buildings could be converted into residential buildings.

The property market, which surged in 2016, has continued to shatter records this year, with authorities fearing a buildup in household debt, heightening banks’ credit risks, and fanning resentment as home affordability wanes.

Reporting by Sue-Lin Wong; Editing by Clarence Fernandez

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