China's local authorities left to act on high housing market prices

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 15 January, 2014, 5:33am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 15 January, 2014, 5:33am

The mainland has the time it needs to avert a property crash, and the central government will leave local authorities to deal with the problems in their housing markets, a vice-minister was quoted as saying this week.

This confirmed analysts' expectations that there will be no more nationwide property cooling measures this year.

Qiu Baoxing, of the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development, told a weekend forum in Shenzhen the nation would not repeat Japan's property bust of the 1980s as long as leaders understood clearly what the problems are and adopted the right fine-tuning policies.

"Japan's property market collapsed towards the end of its urbanisation in the 1980s because it had no momentum," the Southern Metropolis Daily quoted Qiu as saying in a report on Monday. "China still has time left before hitting that point."

He said the government of President Xi Jinping would no longer issue nationwide policies to cure headaches in particular cities. "For example, Shenzhen will need to solve its own problems, and there is no need for the central government to roll out new policies," Qiu said. The property sector must return to basics to provide housing for residents and must not become a venue for excessive investment.

Edison Bian, property analyst with CCB International in Hong Kong, said the comments indicated a change in Beijing's policies to control the property market.

Qiu was less optimistic that Beijing could avert a bursting of property bubbles. "The market has already crashed in some places, such as Ordos [a new town in Inner Mongolia] and Guiyang [capital of Guizhou province]."