Business / Industries

China's land registration to help regulate home market

(Xinhua) Updated: 2014-04-24 11:31

BEIJING -- The Chinese central government has announced a timetable to push forward the national unified real estate registration system as the founding work to better protect ownership and regulate the home market.

The Ministry of Land and Resources (MLR) said on Monday that China is scheduled to establish a registration system for fixed property nationwide in around three years, and expected a platform for information sharing and queries by 2018.

Leng Hongzhi of the ministry noted that the verification and protection of private property would complement the country's Property Law that took effect in 2007, while speaking to state television.

The registry will include land, houses and any other fixed property, as well as property rights, such as those that cover exploration and exploitation.

It is expected to focus on verifying home ownership and streamlining their management, which used to be administered by multiple agencies and inevitably brought chaos.

At present, the MLR merely grasps overall statistics of home ownership without detail, while local authorities are responsible for gathering more specific information. But this is scattered in multiple agencies and confined to regions.

"Generally speaking, the move aims to find out the number of homes and their condition in China with a unified system integrating information from all over the country," said Deng Yusong, deputy director of the Market Economy Research Department of the Development Research Center of the State Council.

The country's last national survey on residential houses was in 1984, when property transactions were rare and homes were distributed to households with ownership belonging to the state.

The practice ended in 1998 as the government sold homes to the then dwellers and encouraged purchase by mortgage, which prompted the country's real estate market to boom.

"The basic data needs to be recollected as the market has changed substantially over 30 years of rapid advancing," said Zhu Zhongyi, vice president of China Real Estate Association, stressing the data was essential for policymaking and the implementation of laws and regulatory measures.

One policy that has to be implemented on the basis of unified registration is the property tax, which is being piloted in Shanghai and Chongqing.

The authorities hope the tax will rein in the country's rampant housing market. China's home prices began to surge in 2005, due to strong demand and increasing speculative purchases, followed by persistent but unsatisfactory regulation to cool the overheated sector.

Property market analysts attributed the ineffective regulation partly to the lack of official primary data on home ownership.

Zhu and Deng believe the registration, although unlikely to cool home prices instantly, will lay the foundation of further policy measures and facilitate regulatory efforts for the healthy development of the property sector.

It will also help prevent corruption as officials' illegal property will be easily ascertained through the system, Zhu said.

The country will also accelerate the registration of rural collective construction land including homesteads, to provide the basis for reform of related markets.

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