[photopress:property_china_foreigners.jpg,full,alignright]A personal note. At a garden party in England I was approached time and time again by people who wanted to invest in property in China. They were not happy with my view that the people investing in property in China should, by and large, be Chinese.
Even foreigners living in China must battle recent legislation designed to limit foreign ownership in order to tame a soaring real estate market.
Early this year a regulation was announced, echoing similar central government efforts in 2006, requiring foreigners living in Beijing to get certificates from the Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau to prove they have been in China for at least one year for work or study before buying property.
The regulation also banned foreigners from buying more than one house or using it for anything other than residential purposes.
Eric Chan, deputy managing director of Savills, a UK real estate services provider, said, ‘It is understandable for the government to rein in foreign investment in the property market when supply can barely meet the huge domestic demand.’
In July 2006, six ministries led by the Ministry of Construction issued a statement requiring foreigners to live in China for at least a year before being allowed to buy a house.
The government has also clamped down on overseas residents — including those from Taiwan, Hong Kong or Macao, as well as overseas Chinese – from buying property on the mainland.
As of last January, overseas residents looking to buy property in Beijing require a residential status certificate. To get that, they need to provide a passport, documents to prove they have worked or studied in Beijing for over one year, papers verifying their present address and two passport-sized photos.
Overseas residents also now require a signed testimony saying they will live in the house and not rent it out or sell it.