Beijing loosens housing policy, removing block on divorced homebuyers

People learn about properties at a real estate sales office in Beijing on June 24, 2023. Photo: VCG

People learn about properties at a real estate sales office in Beijing on June 24, 2023. Photo: VCG

Beijing has further loosened the city’s housing policy, with a former measure that restricts certain people from buying new homes in the city nullified on Wednesday, according to the latest information on the city’s official website for housing on Wednesday. This is among national loosing policies on the real estate sector to encourage house purchases while maintaining market order.

The move is being viewed as being of significance, and means that in the second quarter, more localities will further adjust their real estate policies, and objectively respond to the guidance of further optimizing policies targeting the real estate market released by the State Council, analysts said.

Buying a house in Beijing after divorce is no longer subject to a time limit as of Wednesday, news portal also reported, citing an official from the Beijing Municipal Commission of Housing and Urban-Rural Development.

According to the website of Beijing’s housing commission, the document, which was originally issued in 2021 and imposed restrictions on divorced homebuyers, became invalid, as seen by the Global Times on Wednesday.

The original document specified that if a couple is divorced, and the number of properties owned by the original family before the divorce does not meet the provisions of the commercial housing purchase restriction policy of the city, then any party shall not buy commercial housing in the city within three years from the date of divorce.

The initiative behind the release of the document was to follow the principle that houses are for living in, not for speculation, as posted on the website of the Beijing Municipal Commission of Housing and Urban-Rural Development.

It was reported that some Beijing residents were engaging in “fake divorces” to obtain purchase qualifications and buy more houses before the document was released, according to media reports.

These policies explain the further adjustment and optimization of the housing policy in China’s first-tier cities, Yan Yuejin, research director at Shanghai-based E-house China R&D Institute, told the Global Times on Wednesday.

“The policy of house purchase restriction for divorced people was a policy of controlling obtaining house purchase qualification through ‘fake divorce’ in the past few years. Although there was controversy at that time, the policy was implemented,” said Yan.

Yan noted that the relaxation of property purchase rules is inevitable. And such policies, in essence, will provide a more relaxed purchase policy for reasonable housing consumer demand.

Since 2024, policies on both ends of supply and demand in the real estate industry have been constantly implemented. And some Chinese cities have responded positively to the authorities’ call for supportive measures for the property market and adjusted their purchase policies for commercial housing.

For example, Guangzhou in South China’s Guangdong Province eased measures on home purchases on January 27. The policy of restricting the purchase of homes over 120 square meters in the restricted areas was lifted.

Another example is South China’s Hainan Province. From February 7, the minimum down payment for first homes in Hainan was lowered from 25 percent to 20 percent, which is expected to further stimulate commercial housing sales in the province.

For the supply side, the urban real estate financing coordination mechanism has been set up in 312 cities of 31 provinces, Ni Hong, minister of housing and urban-rural development, revealed during this year’s two sessions held in early March.

More than 6,000 real estate projects have been put on the “white list,” said Ni. The “white list” mechanism refers to the city government recommending residential projects suitable for financing support to banks and coordinating financial institutions to meet project needs.

Global Times