THE austerity programme implemented by Beijing could stabilise the mainland's property market and help foster a better development of the industry, says an official with the Ministry of Construction. He Heping, vice-director of the ministry's real estate industry department, said an adjustment in China's property market, as a result of the tightening up of credit, would enhance a ''healthy'' development. After a seminar in Hongkong yesterday, Mr He said the central government was very concerned about the problem of speculation in the real estate market. He revealed that a new set of regulations and administrative measures was expected to be in place by the end of this year to reinforce controls on the industry. According to Mr He, real estate developments in China absorbed about 73.1 billion yuan (about HK$98 billion at official rates) last year, representing an increase of 117 per cent over the value in 1991. He said the mainland property market was still at ''a relatively young stage'' compared with those in developed places such as Hongkong and Macau. Mr He expected that China would see a larger and faster development in the real estate industry. He said overseas investors should not only focus on office, hotel, restaurant and leisure housing developments, but also develop residential units for local residents. ''The development of offices, hotels and leisure housings is relatively hot, with excess supply in leisure housings in certain areas,'' he said. ''More developments in residential houses will be encouraged by the government and well received by local people.'' Xie Hongchang, division chief of the general office at Ministry of Construction, said there would be a fast development in the construction of residential buildings. By the end of the century, he said about 1.65 billion square metres of residential space had to be built in cities and towns, and 6.5 billion square metres developed in the rural areas. Mr Xie also said China was determined to strengthen the construction of infrastructure facilities in order to achieve an annual economic growth rate of eight to nine per cent. In the next five years, he said emphasis would be placed on development of railways, ports, airports, highways, telecommunication services and energy projects. ''The 1990s is the key point for the take-off of China's economy,'' he said. ''The state will concentrate its resources on developing several large-scale construction projects. such as the Three Gorges irrigation scheme, the transfer of the southern waters to the northern area, and the moving of western coal to the eastern part of the country.''