China will not ease grip on property market

BEIJING: China plans to stick to its tight property sector policies and a nationwide rebound in home prices remains unlikely, a senior official at the housing ministry said in remarks published by state media on Sunday.

The comments underscore Beijing’s determination to keep a lid on rising home prices, a source of social discontent, especially in the run-up to a once-a-decade leadership transition this year.

To curb price rises, Beijing is urging local authorities to increase housing supply and to strictly implement a policy aimed at restricting home purchases, said the People’s Daily, the ruling Communist Party’s official newspaper. It quoted an unnamed official at the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development.

“With more affordable housing projects put into operation and market expectations kept stable, the conditions do not exist for a full-scale rebound in house prices,” said the official.

The comments came amid new concerns that a new round of property inflation was in the offing, with data showing a pick-up in housing sales as well as an increase in property prices following eight consecutive monthly declines.

Latest figures showed that Chinese house prices rose 0.1 percent in August from July, extending a modest price increase into a second straight month.

Revenues from property sales in the country rose for the third month in a row in August from a year earlier, reinforcing signs of a recovery in the sector. Continue reading

No end to illegal use of residential units in sight

ISLAMABAD  – The Capital Development Authority (CDA) has not been able to devise a strategy to bring an end to the use of above 1,000 residential units being used for commercial purposes in violation of civic by-laws and posing security threats.

According to the Islamabad Residential Building Regulation 2005, the use of residential units for commercial activities is forbidden else the CDA is empowered to impose fine or even cancel the allotment of the land.

Despite terror attack in restaurants and foreign missions operating in residential areas, the city fathers have yet to work out a solution to relocate these offices or outlets to the specified areas.

According to a CDA survey, around 102 guest houses, 61 hotels, 113 showrooms, 62 clinics, 84 schools, 345 offices, 79 gyms or beauty parlours and 67 housing general businesses are operating in residential areas.

However, an official at the Building Control Section, who deals with such cases, said that the parties running these businesses in residential areas use their influence rendering the CDA helpless.

He said upon receiving complaints, the BCS issues 15-day notice to the parties concerned to remove the violations at their own, failing which their cases are referred to Deputy Commissioner, CDA, for trial under Buils to the DC CDA for trial out of which 450 have been decided.

He said the authority has also removed 465 violations on the orders of the DC where the misuse of the building has been ended.

He said most of the times, the parties, who fail to get relief from the deputy commissioner move to the civil or high court just as delaying tactic as 31 such cases were under trial there.

In total, 130 cases were pending before the deputy commissioner and the CDA was awaiting their fate to be decided.

However, he said the end of this misuse is complicated. He said that the regulatory authorities for registering educational institutions must not give permission for schools or colleges in residential areas. Continue reading

Rizwan calls for following building codes

LAHORE – Punjab Emergency Service (Rescue 1122) Director General (DG) Dr Rizwan Naseer has urged the owners of factories and industrial units to follow building codes and adopt preventive measures for ensuring safety of human life.

Dr Naseer expressed these views during his interaction with TheNation Editor Salim Bokhari on Saturday. “We have established the emergency department and now we are focusing on changing public minds by launching community safety programmes and awareness campaigns,” he held.

The Rescue 1122 director general said the twin factory fire claimed more than 300 lives because of criminal negligence on the part of owners of these industrial units. “The Rescue 1122 has been expanded across Punjab and other provinces have also adopted this model,” said Dr Naseer, adding the management was also working on the launch of the emergency service at the tehsil level.

Speaking on building codes and fire safety measures, he said more than 90 per cent fire cases could be averted at an initial stage. In the West, authorities feel deeply concern even at a minor fire incident, said the Rescue 1122 director general, adding the industrial units in the country did not bother to establish a proper fire safety system. Continue reading