SHENZHEN Land Bureau is considering new regulations aimed at boosting the sluggish property market and preventing tax evasion. Despite the introduction of new rules last year, ''there are still many loopholes in our property regulations,'' said a senior bureau official, who spoke to China Business Review on condition of anonymity. He claimed many flats were secretly sold and rented. This meant that not only was the government kept in the dark about deals, but it also lost out on duties from transactions. In a bid to boost the market, the bureau is looking at plans to open it up to a wider group of potential buyers and introduce tougher controls on its development. Limits on the number of foreign investors may be relaxed. At present, only 10 per cent of flats and 15 per cent of commercial units are for sale to foreigners. The bureau is considering opening the commercial property sector to foreigners and allowing 25 per cent of residential units to be sold to overseas investors. It may also allow a wider group of people to buy flats. At present, people living in government-owned flats are not allowed to buy private flats. In addition, the bureau is looking at lifting a ban on the transfer of pre-sale flats. Currently, flat owners are not allowed to re-sell units before they are completed. But it is common for developers and buyers to agree not to write the buyer's name on the contract, so the flat can be sold several times before it is actually occupied. ''Flat-owners openly sell pre-sale flats, so what's the point in having the ban?'' said the official. Another proposal is that all property owners would have to inform the bureau when they rent a flat. This would ensure the government claimed a duty. Also under consideration is a plan to have all industrial property developers build residential units inside the industrial site for workers. At present, many factory workers have difficulty finding accommodation. The residential complex would have to be sold and re-sold at one third of the market price. The bureau will submit its proposals to the city government next month and, if approved, plans to implement them this year. Some regulations on the list are already in force, but they are regularly flouted. Meanwhile, fewer residential flats will come on stream this year. Last year, 10 million square metres of residential units and seven million sq m of commercial buildings were completed in Shenzhen. This year, only 1.5 million square metres of residential units, 70,000 square metres of industrial sites and 400,000 sq m of office space will be completed. In order to improve professionalism among property agents, last September the bureau introduced a scheme to test them. The bureau official said out of the existing 900 property agents, more than 800 had passed. ''We'll provide more training for industry people and make sure that they know international practices,'' he said.