Beijing Homebuyers Storm Realtors and Tear Up Contracts

Buying restrictions have buyers tearing up contracts after new restrictions push them out of the market. Some buyers signed contracts and made payments to realtors, but fell afoul of new restrictions before completing a purchase. In many cases, buyers cannot come up with the extra money for down payments which have soared from 30 percent to 50 and even 70 percent. Others also fell through the cracks, selling a house and now unable to buy a new home due to tightened rules.

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“Beijing’s policies are among the harshest in the 20 cities that had imposed restrictions, along with Nanjing, Hefei and Suzhou,” said Hu Jinghui, vice-president of BA Consulting & 5I5J Group. “A closer look at other cities showed they are lenient in substance.”

For the first time, Beijing authorities introduced a distinction between down payment requirements for “ordinary” and “non-ordinary” homes.

Homes larger than 144 square meters, or with a price 20 per cent higher than similar homes, are defined as “non-ordinary”. First-time buyers of such homes are required to pay a 40 per cent down payment, compared with 35 per cent for ordinary homes, while second-time buyers have to pay a minimum 70 per cent, compared with 50 per cent for ordinary homes.

A considerable number of buyers in Beijing would be subject to the 50 or 70 per cent requirement because, according to Centaline, roughly half of city’s buyers are people who sold their old homes to buy a new, larger flat.
To deal with the 2014 downturn, China changed the rules on first-time homebuyers, allowing people to become "born again" first-time homebuyers if they paid off their mortgage. No more.

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