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Expats in Beijing can now buy apartments immediately

Foreigners with work permits who have no properties in Beijing can now buy one residential apartment, with the threshold of at least one year working in the city removed, local authorities have said.

Foreigners working in Beijing can buy properties and branches of foreign companies can purchase non-residential properties to be used as offices, the Beijing Municipal Commission of Housing and Urban-Rural Development said over the weekend. In addition, people from Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan and overseas Chinese can buy one apartment in Beijing when they work, study or stay in the city. The new regulation took effect on Feb 4.

Before the new regulation, foreigners were required to work at least for one year to become eligible to buy an apartment in Beijing, which is one of the country's five cities that restrict non-residents to buy properties in order to curb rising house prices.

Early this month, the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development and five other ministries jointly promulgated a new regulation to overhaul the access of foreign capital to the Chinese housing market. As the regulation took effect, Beijing lifted the threshold.

Liu Siwei, a researcher at the Beijing Real Estate Research Institute, said the new policy meets the demand for residential use as the city aims to become a center for international exchanges.

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