China land sales up 70% in 2010

Jan 8
BEIJING – CHINA says land sales shot up 70 per cent last year as the country’s land and resources minister warned of social unrest among frustrated Chinese who can’t afford to buy a home.

Minister Xu Shaoshi said 2.7 trillion yuan (S$527 billion) was spent on land transactions last year, up from 1.59 trillion yuan a year earlier. His comments on Friday were posted on the ministry’s website.

‘Urban development is becoming more dependent on land transactions, which has triggered an uneven allocation of benefits – and social conflicts,’ Mr Xu said.

Mr Xu’s comments suggest China may take further measures to cool its property market. It has already tightened limits on mortgage lending to discourage investment buying that helped drive prices out of reach for many city dwellers. In September it said it would introduce a trial property tax in some major cities.

Apartment prices have spiked to record highs in some cities. The cost of real estate in Beijing rose by about 42 per cent last year, according to the China Real Estate Information Corp.

Mr Xu said the ministry would make sure there is enough land available this year to build 10 million affordable homes. — AP

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