China Gets Closer to Game-Changing Property Tax

By Bloomberg News / Bloomberg | March 7, 2018 9:18 PM SGT
China said a bill for a property tax is being drafted, moving a step closer to a levy that could help tame runaway home prices.
Officials are working on the measure, Vice Finance Minister Shi Yaobin said in a Wednesday briefing in Beijing during the annual meeting of the National People’s Congress. Former Finance Minister Lou Jiwei told reporters that a draft bill may be reviewed by the legislature this year.
A property tax is a potential game-changer for a real estate industry sometimes called too big to fail for the Chinese and world economies. As President Xi Jinping rolls out measures to try to stabilize the housing market, including a push for rental homes, Standard Chartered Plc has called a levy the “missing piece” of China’s bubble-fighting toolkit.
Shanghai city skyline
China is looking at taxes in other nations, but will devise the levy based on its own situation, with the possibilities including a tax based on appraisal value, or market value, Shi said.
Currently, the Shanghai and Chongqing municipal governments are trialing taxes, charging for ownership of a second residential home, or a highly-priced home.
While NPC spokesman Zhang Yesui said Saturday that accelerating efforts toward a property tax is a “crucial” task for the Communist Party, UBS Group AG estimates the implementation may be in 2019 at the earliest.
— With assistance by Emma Dong, and Peter Vercoe
This story, written for Bloomberg News, first appeared on March 7.