His prediction conflicts with authorities anxious to curb an overheating market A prominent researcher at the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, Gu Jianfa, has forecast that the city's housing prices will show a 20 to 25 per cent rise for this year, with room to move even higher next year. The view puts him at odds with the official government position, carried in state media, which says prices will stabilise or even fall next year. 'I don't agree with the consensus that prices will fall next year. The Shanghai property market won't run into any big problems,' Mr Gu said. He also predicted that Shanghai's volume of land transactions would reach a record high this year. According to the Shanghai Property Trading Centre, transaction volume had already exceeded 20 million square metres in the first nine months of this year, almost the same level for the whole of last year. Sales volume in the first 10 months of this year rose 42 per cent year on year to 87 billion yuan, the Shanghai Statistical Bureau said. Mr Gu said growth next year would come from outlying areas such as Songjiang, Nanhui and Jiading. The government recently announced rules to control building density in the city centre in an effort to encourage development of the city's suburbs. Mr Gu said he expected more government intervention next year to rein in the rapid growth in prices. Officials have already moved to limit credit to property projects, though not first-time home-buyers. Shanghai's overall property prices rose an annual 7.3 per cent last year and residential prices increased 8.7 per cent, Shanghai Statistical Bureau chief Pan Jianxin had said. Some residents have protested that housing is rapidly growing out of reach of low-income families as speculative funds and pent-up demand push prices higher. A scandal involving local developer Chau Ching-ngai, which came to light in April, raised questions over the transparency of land sales and easy credit for property projects. Officials have repeatedly denied suggestions that Shanghai is facing a property bubble. But authorities have moved to increase transparency and provide more low-cost housing in the wake of the scandal.