SHANGHAI (Reuters) - Municipal authorities in Shanghai suspended sales of commercial office projects from Jan. 6, in the latest move to crack down on irregularities in the property market amid concerns about soaring prices.
The suspension came after the municipality's housing and urban-rural development committee received increasing complaints about "illegal sales and unauthorized alterations" to commercial housing projects, it said in an online statement published over the weekend.
"The committee, along with other relevant departments, has launched the focused clean-ups and verifications starting Jan. 6, and signing contracts online for such projects would be suspended during the period," it said.
The committee added that it had found "relatively serious unauthorized changes" to commercial office projects in the city, with some privately installing gas pipelines to change the nature of the use of the housing.
Housing developers used "false propaganda to seriously mislead housing buyers" for such projects, according to the statement.
Media reported in late December that the city had suspended planning and management approvals for apartment-style office buildings that have residential function.
The country's first- and second- tier cities have rolled out a slew of measures over the past few months, including higher mortgage down payments and tighter real estate-related loans, in an attempt to cool their housing markets after a rally in housing prices.
(Reporting by Winni Zhou, Yawen Chen and Alexandra Harney; Editing by Kim Coghill)