China bans property sales in upcoming economic zone

Screen capture of promotional video for the Xiongan New Area. Source Miaopai

After news broke last Saturday that the authorities plan to establish a special area in northern Hebei province like the Shenzhen Special Economic Zone, property hunters have entered the area, leading to spiralling real estate prices.

As per China Daily, a circular released by the CPC Central Committee and the State Council noted that the area will feature "geological advantages, convenient transportation, an excellent ecological environment, ample resources and lots of room for development".

"After news of the Xiongan area became public, the behavior and hype of speculators pushed housing prices to a new high", the statement said.

Quoting Xi, Zhang said authorities should coordinate efforts like moves in a chess game and phase out "non-capital functions" from Beijing in an orderly manner.

Analysts said that Xiongan, some 100 kilometers southwest of downtown Beijing, will create fresh business opportunities.

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Regional planning should be systematic, Zhang said, with stronger land, real estate and population controls.

Wang Huisheng, chairman of SDIC, said the company would utilize its expertise in investment orientation, structural adjustment and asset management to help develop the Xiongan New Area. Over the years, the Chinese government has built dozens of new metropolitan areas and free trade zones (FTZs), with the majority ending up becoming "white elephants" that are neither economically viable nor sustainable.

The new area has already received encouraging responses from property and stock markets earlier this week.

Work should be expedited to build a pilot area to explore innovation and reform, while basic public services must be shared across the region, he said.

At a conference on promoting coordinated development of the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region, Zhang called for a "reasonable pace of development" of the area, saying large-scale real estate development and illegal construction should be banned. It will initially occupy 100 square kilometers and eventually cover 2,000 square kilometers.

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