City 'clarifies' policy on second-home purchases


Shanghai report cheers up housing agents, boosts stocks in the sector

SHANGHAI - People who have held Shanghai resident cards for more than three years are eligible to buy a second home despite their non-permanent residence status, a municipal housing official confirmed to local media for the first time, triggering market rumors that housing regulations would be eased in the city.

"Ever since the home purchase restrictions were implemented, long-term resident card holders have been allowed to buy a second residence, just like local Shanghai people," an official from the Shanghai Municipal Housing Security and Administration Bureau was quoted as saying by the Shanghai Securities News on Wednesday.

The individuals involved don't have the same legal status as those with permanent residence certificates, or hukou.

The official, who wasn't identified, said this stance isn't an adjustment or reversal of the existing housing policy.

"At the very beginning when the policy was announced, people who had held resident cards for more than three years were treated equally with local Shanghai people, meaning they were eligible to buy a second home," the official said.

However, according to the circular dated on Jan 31, 2011 by the municipal government, titled "Carrying Out the State Council's Opinion to Further Control the Property Market", only local Shanghai families were eligible to buy a second home.