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Source: Reuters

China to clamp down on land abuse nationwide

Published: 19 Aug 2010 04:26:25 PST

BEIJING, Aug 19 - China will step up efforts to ensure property developers build on land they have acquired within allotted time limits and do not mis-state the purpose of developments, as part of efforts to curb property speculation.

The Ministry of Land and Resources said in a statement on its website (www.mlr.gov.cn) on Thursday that the campaign against land misuse will focus on 3,070 cases, covering a total area of 126 million square meters, by the end of October.

Nearly a third of the cases involve developers leaving land idle for more than five years, in contravention of rules which state they have to start construction within two years of acquiring the land.

Local governments have the right to take back land, without refunding developers' deposits, if they do not begin building in a timely manner.

Beijing is urging developers to speed up their construction plans and increase the supply of property to help keep house prices in check.

The ministry said it had discovered that in 92 of the more than 3,000 cases it was probing, land set aside to build affordable housing for low-income residents was used for other purposes.

The government hopes to offer 5.8 million such units this year but has not said how close it is to meeting that target.

The world's third-largest economy has rolled out a slew of measures over the past few months to contain overly fast home price rises, including raising downpayments and mortgage rates.

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