• Beijing Apartment Building Under Construction

Beijing Apartment Building Under Construction (Photo : Getty Images)

Some business apartment projects belonging to China's top property developers Vanke and Evergrande and offices 15 real estate agents were ordered closed by Beijing authorities on Monday, March 27, after they were found violating the government ban on property sale, which was aimed at cooling China's red-hot housing market.

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The Xinhua News Agency reported that the Beijing Municipal Commission of Housing and Urban-Rural Development had banned the sale of six apartment projects and ordered the closure of the real estate agent offices for overhauls.

Beijing authorities had intensified restrictions on house purchases on Sunday, March 26, as it banned the sale of business apartments for individual residences.

Under the rule, business apartments can only be sold qualified enterprises, public institutions and social organizations.

The law also mandates that the smallest unit for sale should not be smaller than 500 square meters, which will take effect on new business apartment projects that are still to be built.

On Monday, March 27, authorities deployed inspection teams to enforce the ban, the report said.

Commission officials warned that they will enforce severe punishment for real estate agents who may be found misleading home buyers with false advertisement on business apartments for residence. Officials said that these unscrupulous agents may lose their licenses.

The commission's move came amid criticisms that its warnings have often been ignored or powerless in the face of flagrant violations.

Home prices in China's big cities have soared after the property boom for more than a decade, which triggered a fear of asset bubble that could upset the country's economic growth.

Last December, Chinese policymakers said that "houses are for living in, not for speculating with," after implementing a series of measures that included buying restrictions and raising down payments.

In March, Beijing stepped up its control measures after prices for second-home continued to rise in the first few months of the year, the report said.