Beijing to set up govt-owned real estate agents

Beijing will set up government-owned real estate agents to curb surging housing rental prices in the city and to regulate the market, according to a municipal government statement released on June 1.

The statement said that all district and county governments and related departments are encouraged to establish real estate agents to serve as a bridge between property owners and tenants.

The agents will be in charge of renting out and maintaining private property. They will also release information to the public to make the market more transparent.

With this move, the government hopes to add credibility to the rental market, which is now dominated by private-owned real estate agents. Some of the smaller companies are notorious for their poor service and dishonest behavior.

The statement also encouraged real estate developers to build more in the downtown area, especially near subway stations and schools, where there is more demand for rental apartments.

Since Beijing set up property-purchasing limitations to curb housing prices two years ago, rental prices have increased due to huge demand.

According to the latest statistics from real estate brokerage firm HomeLink Real Estate Co Ltd, the average rent for an apartment in Beijing was 3,540 yuan ($560) in May, a 5 percent increase since the beginning of the year.

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