Guangzhou Construction Commission chairman Ou Guangquan says the city's property market will begin a new development cycle this year. 'The real estate industry has been bottoming out and riding on an upswing, starting from last year,' Mr Ou said. Measures taken to develop the sector into a new growth area included strict control over the supply of land, a clean-up of projects that had been left idle and active promotion of the mortgage market. Foreign financial institutions would be encouraged to provide foreign currency financing, or other sources of financing, for property projects. To unify the sale of land-use rights, the city had started to adopt the use of tenders instead of negotiations from this year. On last year's performance, Mr Ou said: 'On the whole, the real estate industry kept pace with the overall economic development of the city'. Construction of commercial-residential properties would remain the focus and the driving force within the industry, he said. The city sold commercial properties totalling about 2.6 million square metres last year, of which 88 per cent were residential properties. Investment in the city's property development grew 2.06 per cent to 23.30 billion yuan (about HK$21.66 billion) last year. Construction of new commercial projects, measuring 5.3 million sq metres, began last year, up 1.1 per cent year on year. Mr Ou said this had reversed the declining trend of the previous two years.