Beijing relaxes rules on foreigners buying property
Restrictions on foreigners buying property in the Chinese capital have been relaxed for 2009, state media reported Saturday, as Beijing moves to stimulate a sluggish housing market.
Limits were introduced in 2007 in response to rocketing property prices in the densely crowded capital, which meant only expatriates who had been in Beijing for more than a year were allowed to buy a home and no foreigner could buy multiple properties.
"In simple words, foreign expatriates in Beijing could buy only one house then," Li Wenjie, general manager of real estate agency Centaline China's North China branch, told the Xinhua news agency.
"The house price skyrocketed at that time. The government wanted to curb foreign capital in driving up the property price."
The rules had the effect of cutting foreign purchases, which had accounted for up to eight percent of all real estate transactions, but dropped to around 0.5 percent, the report said.
Xinhua said nine governmental departments had decided to relax the residency requirement and remove restrictions on property numbers for foreigners as part of a series of measures to revitalise the slowing housing market.