Beijing, Shanghai Vow to Enforce New Property Cooling Measures

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Beijing and Shanghai will implement strict property cooling measures as part of a central government crackdown on the overheated property market, Xinhua said on Saturday.

The move comes as the central government faces renewed pressure to stabilize skyrocketing home prices in several major cities.

Under the new measures, single Beijing residents will be prohibited from buying second homes, Xinhua said.

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The central government said earlier this month that in areas where property prices are rising too quickly, local governments must strictly enforce a 20 percent capital gains tax and higher down payments for second-home buyers.

Beijing's municipal government said the tax could be waived if the family only owns one home and has lived in it for more than 5 years.

Shanghai municipal government said in addition enforcing the capital gains tax, it would apply greater scrutiny to borrowers who come from other cities, or are foreign or divorced. The new rules will take effect March 31, Xinhua said.

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China's southern province of Guangdong said on Tuesday it would work to implement the same directive, singling out four cities including Guangzhou and Shenzhen, which have also seen home prices rise rapidly compared with other urban centres.

On a population-weighted basis derived by Reuters from official data, Beijing home prices jumped 21.8 percent in February compared with a year earlier. Shanghai home prices were not far behind, gaining 14.6 percent during the same period.

Year-on-year prices for new homes in China rose in February for a second consecutive month.