THE Chinese Government is considering confiscating building sites that developers have left idle. A land administration official said a policy document was being designed to control unused non-agricultural land. Li Shangjie, director of the Department of Management on Land Use for Construction, under the State Land Administration, yesterday said the government would inspect all non-agricultural land left idle by developers before issuing a policy document stating how the unused land would be handled. Under one proposal, the government would take back any land from developers who failed to carry out improvements on a site within two years, with retrospective effect. Developers would not be compensated. Speaking after the opening of an exhibition on China's investment opportunities in Shenzhen, Mr Li said: 'In the past two years, the economy was over-heating. 'The supply of land outstripped demand. This resulted in a lot of land being left idle and wasted by developers. 'We are doing some clean-up work, which is aimed at a better utilisation of land for development.' The 'clean-up' started in the middle of the year, with 10 provinces being inspected so far. Mr Li said the government would issue warnings to developers before taking action against them. 'Our aim is not to reclaim the land,' he said. 'The aim is to make better use of the land.' He said government action would prompt developers to invest and develop their land more rapidly. The reclaimed land would be allocated in the light of the dearth of arable land. Mr Li said the government's priority was for developers to build infrastructure and mass market housing. He said the government would not provide a return guarantee to investors for mass market housing projects. Investors would get preferential tax and land premium treatment, and a higher return rate compared with other industrial projects, Mr Li said. The return rate for projects would be more than 20 per cent and sometimes even 30 per cent, while industrial projects usually yielded a return rate of less than 20 per cent. 'The greater efficiency the developers can manage, the higher the return,' Mr Li said. 'There is no reason that the government should subsidise and support the developers if they do not operate efficiently.' The property market's recent boom and bust history had resulted in it reaching a stage where it had consolidated, he said. Mr Li said the market's steady growth was conducive for later development.