Analysts expect property prices in Beijing to continue falling despite another round of measures by the local government to stimulate demand for housing in the capital city.

One of the latest measures, unveiled on January 23, overturns an order restricting purchases of property in the city by foreigners. The order was part of a package issued two years ago to cool down demand.

Foreigners were prevented from buying properties unless they had been working or studying in the city for more than a year. They were also limited to buying one residential unit for personal use.

Now the government has announced these restrictions will be suspended for this year.

Li Wenjie, the general manager of Centaline (China) in Beijing, said only about 7% of buyers in 2006 were foreigners, and that proportion had fallen to 0.5% after the restriction. He said it was unlikely foreign buying would return to its previous level now the restrictions had been lifted.

South China Morning Post