China is stepping up its campaign against soaring home prices. Blowing the horn is Hunan Daily, a major paper in the province where former paramount leader Mao Zedong was born.
For four consecutive days, the official mouthpiece fired shots at the main cast of “offenders” – speculators, brokers and property developers who pushed the local residential price to a record high, calling them undiscovered traitors.
In a commentary, Hunan Daily compared the chaotic situation as “challenging the new-born people’s authority in the beginning of a new China where many illegal capitalists are trying to accumulate, bluff and upset the market order.”
The harsh and rare tone against property-market players came after a senior official who was ordered to fix the market became shocked and angry at what he learnt on a recent visit.
Over the past year, home prices in Changsha have risen about 25% to 10,000 yuan (US$1,508) per meter from below 8,000 yuan.
Changsha is among 30 cities that Beijing has ordered property speculation to be suppressed, because it is known for having the most severe market impact.
Apart from market restrictions, city officials have been told to set a limit on construction so that there is no more than 150% of units available.
In another editorial, Hunan Daily said: “The high property prices and speculation activities make ordinary citizens feel unhappy, that they are not supported and no compromises have been made for them – and that shows that we are deficient in this area and staying too far away from what people want.”
Seven government departments including propaganda, public security, legal, tax and market regulators joined together to issue a statement saying they would take action against people who create a chaotic situation in property markets in 30 cities, including the four top-tier cities in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangdong and Shenzhen.
The efforts aim to target speculative activities, counter poisonous pitches by real-estate agents, illegal property development and false property advertising.
The general rise in house prices across China clashes with President Xi Jinping’s wish to maintain relatively stable property prices. As he said last year: “Homes are for living, not speculation.”