BEIJING: Some Chinese civil servants have been given an additional responsibility: to help offload a big housing stock as cautious homebuyer sentiment threatens to deepen a property malaise.
Sixian, a small city in the eastern province of Anhui, has required civil servants to sell property to their friends and family, the Chinese financial media outlet Yicai reported on Wednesday (Aug 17).
"Civil servants should mobilise their friends and relatives to take practical action towards purchasing homes," Yicai cited the Sixian government as saying.
Sixian is not alone in calling on civil servants to help sell homes.
Officials in Shimen, a small city in Hunan province in the south, are taking similar steps.
In a video clip circulating online, a Shimen official said at a property fair: "I hope attendees including officials will take the lead in purchasing one more house, even if you have homes", Yicai reported.
More than 10,000 housing units, totalling 980,000 square metres, are for sale by 19 developers at Shimen's real estate trade fair that opened on Tuesday, said Yicai, predicting it would take at least 20 months to sell those homes.
Authorities in Sixian and Shimen did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Already fragile demand was further undermined by a mortgage boycott across the country last month as cash-strapped developers suspended construction of unfinished projects due to a liquidity crisis or strict COVID-19 precautions.
Chinese cities and developers have resorted to offering to take fruit and other crops as down payments.
Official indicators for July were bleak, with property investment and sales tumbling and prices unchanged, though hundreds of stimulus measures have been imposed by more than 230 cities this year, including subsides, smaller down payments and cuts in mortgage rates.