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January 9, 2018

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Lanzhou eases caps on housing market

LANZHOU in Gansu Province has eased property curbs amid a nationwide clampdown on housing speculation, raising concerns that other cities may follow suit which will further inflate price bubbles in the sector.

The provincial capital, with a population of 3.6 million, lifted property tightening measures in the suburbs while relaxing some restrictions on home purchases in downtown areas, according to a notice posted on the website of the city’s housing authority late on Friday.

The country’s real estate market has been on a two-year tear, giving the economy a major boost but stirring fears of a bubble. More than a hundred Chinese cities have rolled out tightening curbs in a bid to halt housing speculation.

The Lanzhou government had imposed property tightening measures in the suburb areas only just four months ago. While the city did not provide explicit reasons for the move, analysts said they were likely aimed at addressing high inventories.

Yan Yuejin, an analyst with Shanghai-based E-house China R&D Institute, said the suburbs had been under pressure as inventories remained high in face of rigid government curbs.

Analysts also said Lanzhou’s easing may be followed by other second-tier cities where property destocking has not made much progress.

“Lanzhou’s move signals the market that there is room for some overly-strict tightening measures to be adjusted,” said Zhang Dawei, an analyst with Hong-Kong based property agency Centaline.

Lanzhou also eased home buying curbs in its downtown districts, the housing authority said.


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