Hangzhou lifts all restrictions on new housing purchases

East China’s city of Hangzhou on Thursday announced the removal of restrictions on new housing purchases. 

Under the new policy, qualifications for purchasing new houses within the city will no longer be reviewed and non-city householders who have purchased houses in Hangzhou can apply for Hukou, or permanent local residence, which can be used to obtain access to basic welfare and public services in China. 

According to the new policy, individuals who don’t have a home in the urban area they’re buying in, or with just one home there that’s up for sale, may qualify as first-time homebuyers when applying for a lower mortgage for their new homes.

China’s 2024 government work report called for an accelerated introduction of a new real estate development model, a strategic move based on the major changes in supply-demand dynamics, featuring high quality, new technology and good services. 

In March, Chinese Premier Li Qiang chaired a State Council executive meeting during which reports on optimizing real estate policies were discussed. The need to refine related policies further, ensure the delivery of housing projects and ensure that real estate financing coordination mechanisms yield tangible results were emphasized at the meeting.

New buildings under construction in downtown Hangzhou, east China’s Zhejiang Province, November 15, 2023. /CFP

New buildings under construction in downtown Hangzhou, east China’s Zhejiang Province, November 15, 2023. /CFP

Earlier in March, Hangzhou, home to Chinese tech leaders like e-commerce platform Alibaba and carmaker Geely Automobiles, announced the removal of restrictions on the purchase of pre-owned homes. 

The relaxation of property purchase restrictions has been a trend across China this year.

On January 30, Shanghai officially announced that non-local people who have paid tax for five years or more can buy a flat beyond the city’s Outer Ring Road with the exception of Chongming District. Similarly, Suzhou in eastern Jiangsu Province lifted all restrictions on housing purchases, eliminating limitations on both area and quantity.

Subsequently, Guangzhou City in south China’s Guangdong Province declared that the purchase of residential properties with a floor area of 120 square meters or more would no longer be subject to restrictions.

Real estate has long been a cornerstone of China’s economy. The housing regulator said in January that in response to significant changes in the supply and demand dynamics of the real estate market, it plans to establish a new development model for the real estate sector, combining both short-term and long-term measures, addressing root causes, and fostering a stable and healthy development of the real estate sector.

Last year, China implemented measures including favorable mortgage terms, lower interest rates, and tax and fee reliefs, to shore up confidence and defuse risks in the sector.

(With input from Xinhua)