Saturday, December 06, 2008

New-home sales soar in Shanghai

Sales of new homes, excluding those designated for relocation, jumped significantly in Shanghai last month - an increase of 47 percent from September and 36 percent from October, according to statistics released yesterday by the city government at its biweekly press conference.

Meanwhile, sales of existing homes also soared in November, up 75 percent and 68 percent respectively compared to September and October, the city's real estate trade monitoring center said.

The increases were partly due to the recent loosening of criteria for housing that has enabled more home buyers to enjoy preferential mortgage policies, government spokesman Chen Qiwei said. Statistics revealed by the center showed 78 percent of new homes and 82 percent of existing homes sold were "normal" houses - those with a floor space of less than 140 square meters.

Shanghai revised its criteria for such housing on October 31. From November 1, first-time buyers' minimum down payments were cut to 20 percent from 30 percent and the floor mortgage rates lowered to 70 percent of the central bank's benchmark rate, from 85 percent.

Chen also said yesterday that the city's first guideline on budget homes would likely be issued and implemented as early as the first quarter of next year.

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