Caixin
Mar 26, 2021 05:55 AM
CHINA

Beijing Cracks Down on Speculation on ‘School District Houses’

What’s new: Beijing housing authorities recently suspended and fined two real estate brokers as part of a crackdown against speculation in so-called “school district houses.”

The housing administrative bureau in Beijing’s Haidian district, home to the city’s best public schools, is conducting a sweeping inspection on more than 100 real estate broker stores to determine whether they hyped the concept of the “school district house,” to mislead buyers, and drive up housing prices.

The housing administrative bureau also warned homebuyers and investors that houses purchased after January 1, 2019, will no longer guarantee enrollment of owners’ children to certain schools, even though certain brokers still advertise houses by emphasizing that they are in a desirable school district.

The background: In China, living close to a school is sometimes a prerequisite to a child’s enrollment. It has led to the prices of homes skyrocketing in neighborhoods surrounding the best schools. The average housing price in Haidian’s Shangdi neighborhood is nearly 95,000 yuan ($14,512) per square meter, up 14% from July 2020, compared with an average housing price of about 60,000 yuan for the whole city of Beijing, according to real estate information platform Anjuke.com.

From 2017, Beijing started gradually to implement a policy to allocate children to any school in the wider district, not necessarily to the one closest to their homes. The policy change aims to curb the surge in school district housing prices and speculation. A similar policy has also been implemented in other cities, including Shanghai and Nanjing.

Shanghai Real Estate Broker Trade Association, a local industry group, has launched a campaign to rein in price inflation and to prevent sellers from advertising school district houses.

Nanjing city officials inspected 30 real estate developers and agencies recently in an attempt to control steeply rising house prices in certain school districts.

Quick Takes are condensed versions of China-related stories for fast news you can use. To read the full story in Chinese, click here.

Contact reporter Denise Jia (huijuanjia@caixin.com)

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