Provincial governments on the mainland are becoming bulk buyers of private-sector residential units in a bid to support the market by converting unsold stock into public housing units.

In Sichuan province, two housing-related offices of the Chengdu government last week announced they would buy 3,300 flats no bigger than 70 square metres in size from the commodity housing market and convert them into 2,200 economic and 1,100 low-rent units ready for occupancy before the end of the year.

Government-related institutions in Shanghai have similarly bought 1,294 units in six projects through bulk purchases, according to data compiled by Colliers International's Shanghai office.

The latest deals follow a big transaction at the autumn property expo in Chongqing, where the local government paid 2.96 billion yuan (HK$3.36 billion) for 14,931 units in 49 projects for households that needed to move because of redevelopment, newspapers said.

South China Morning Post