Now in Beijing,singles can purchase only one home

Trying to cool down the resurgent property market,two of China’s biggest cities announced over the weekend that they would put in place a series of restrictions

Written by New York Times | Shanghai | Published: April 1, 2013 1:01:21 am

DAVID BARBOZA

Trying to cool down the resurgent property market,two of China’s biggest cities announced over the weekend that they would put in place a series of restrictions and penalties on housing sales.

In the nation’s capital,the Beijing municipal government said unmarried individuals would now be allowed to purchase only one residence. The city also increased the minimum down payment for buyers of a second home and imposed a 20 percent capital gains tax on owners’ selling a residence.

In Shanghai,an identical capital gains tax was announced and took effect immediately,and city officials pledged to implement and enforce other measures aimed at stabilising housing prices. The stiffer capital gains taxes take the place of a 1 percent to 2 percent transaction tax previously assessed on the final price of the property being sold.

Shanghai and other big cities had even had a surge in the number of divorce filings at marriage bureaus,with many couples openly admitting that they were filing for divorce simply to get around property rules and that they would later remarry. In the announcements,it was clear the city governments were trying to close that loophole.

The announcements came a few weeks after China’s State Council,or cabinet,said the government would take stronger action to ensure that property prices do not continue to soar.

The new rules are China’s latest effort to cool real estate prices in a country where property is considered a good store of value.

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