7 held in Shanghai for rumours leading to rush for divorces

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Beijing | Published: September 9, 2016 12:01:39 PM

Seven real estate agents in Shanghai have been detained for spreading rumours about new government property restrictions, which have been blamed for a jump in divorce rates and a buying frenzy in China's commercial hub.

Seven real estate agents in Shanghai have been detained for spreading rumours about new government property restrictions, which have been blamed for a jump in divorce rates and a buying frenzy in China’s commercial hub.

The seven suspects, who allegedly spread rumours online over new property curbs for better sales and commission fees, have been blamed for affecting the stability of the local housing market, a local police statement.

Rumours have spread on social media and websites since late August that under a new regulation in the city starting September 1, those who have been divorced less than a year will face restrictions and higher minimum down payments and mortgage interest rates.

The rumours allegedly triggered a rush to marriage registrar’s offices in Shanghai for divorces, even though the city government later denied it was planning any changes to the city’s home purchasing rules.

Home sales in the city nearly doubled in the week of August 22-28 compared with the previous week, with home buyers snapping up 555,700 square meters of floor space in anticipation of stricter rules, data from the research unit of real estate chain Lianjia showed, sate-run Xinhua news agency reported.

Housing prices also went up 5.6 per cent from the previous week to nearly 43,700 yuan per square meter, it said.

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