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Friday, September 7, 2012

Hong Kong to restrict foreign homebuyers from 2013

Hong Kong on Thursday announced the first step in a policy aimed to restrict foreigners from buying property, in a move seen to be targeting mainland buyers who have been blamed for pushing up property prices.

Chief executive Leung Chun-ying said only Hong Kong permanent residents will be able to buy flats to be built on two sites that will provide around 1,100 homes next year under a so-called "Hong Kong land for Hong Kong people" policy.

Resale of the residential units will be restricted to locals for 30 years and incorporated companies will also not be allowed to purchase them.

The policy was part of Leung's election promises to tackle the housing woes in the city of seven million before he was elected into office in March.

"Hong Kong's land for property is rare and precious resource, when using this land, we must make it a priority to fulfil the housing needs of the Hong Kong permanent residents," Leung told reporters.

"This plan is the first of its kind because we have never had a policy like this in the past," Leung said while standing in the construction site where the residential buildings will be built.

The units will be built on two sites of the combined size of 1.6 hectares (3.95 acres) in an area that used to be the site of Hong Kong's former Kai Tak airport.

The announcement came after Leung unveiled a series of measures last week to cool the red-hot property market, including to provide around 65,000 new units on the market in the next three to four years.

Other measures include boosting land supply by converting 36 sites meant for government and public use to residential property to provide space for nearly 12,000 units.

Property prices in the southern Chinese city, famous for its sky-high rent, have surged over the past few years due to record low interest rates and the flood of wealthy people from mainland China snapping up homes.


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