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On-line survey reports more than half all apartments empty in major cities

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More than half the apartments in Beijing and Shanghai are empty, the China Daily reports, quoting an online investigation of 100 Chinese cities by news website Sina.com.

Hainan rated over 70 percent empty, Beijing 66 percent and Shanghai 51 percent, based on counting the number of apartments with no lights at night time, on more than 1000 real estate projects

Lu Qilin, a Shanghai-based researcher at Uwin, said “Investors and speculators are the owners of the vacant houses as they wait to sell their properties at an appropriate time. It’s important for the government to introduce more measures to curb speculation.”

Pre-sales by developers has been restricted, third home loans curbed, minimum mortgage rates raised on second-home purchases, and down-payment requirements tightened on second-home purchases.

Almost 90 percent of the 10,000 people surveyed said property prices are still being pushed up by speculators buying several homes and leaving them vacant, and over 90 percent said unoccupied property numbers in their cities is high.

However, property price increases are slowing, with the rate standing at 10.3 percent in July from a year earlier, the slowest pace in six months, China Information News reported last month.

Tony Simon

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