BEIJING (Reuters) - China's housing ministry said on Saturday it would blacklist property agents, and in serious cases, shut down real estate agencies that spread rumors about government policy on the property market.
State media said on Friday that police had detained seven property agents in Shanghai for spreading rumors of plans for a new government regulation that sparked a rash of divorces and a rush to buy new homes.
The agents were alleged to have spread rumors online that a new regulation would require higher minimum down payments and mortgage interest rates for home buyers who have been divorced for less than a year, the Xinhua state news agency said.
Migrants in Shanghai who do not hold Shanghai household registration must be married to make home purchases, and they are only allowed to buy one house per family.
In a short statement, the housing ministry said it approved of the actions of the Shanghai police, as such rumors "stir up chaos in market order and have a malign effect on society".
Realtors who spread such rumors will be blacklisted, and if the circumstances are particularly serious real estate agents will be closed down, the ministry added.
The Shanghai rumors caused a buying frenzy in the financial hub though the government has denied it was planning any changes to the city's home purchasing rules, Xinhua said.
Shanghai has widely been regarded as one of the most restrictive Chinese cities in terms of conditions placed on home buyers.
It adopted further regulations earlier this year, including increasing the down payment ratio for second-time home buyers.
(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)