Property law appears to be changing and many foreigners may now be able to buy interests in real estate here in China. I (Jack) found some interesting information online. I can’t attest to the accuracy, but it appears to be quite informative:
[This information is not a legal opinion and I am not a lawyer 😉 ] Jack
Research buying real estate in China thoroughly as Chinese property law is quite complex.
There are now no restrictions on the types of properties that foreigners are allowed to buy in China, and they can buy through an agent or directly from the developer or owner. Foreigners need to have worked or studied in China for more than one year to buy a property in China.
It is important to be aware if buying an older property that developers or the government are entitled under Chinese law to make a compulsory purchase of the property if the land is needed for new construction work. The price they pay may be less than the price you paid for the property. New houses and apartments are not usually at risk. It is advisable to buy older properties only on a freehold basis, which requires higher buyout payments and is therefore less attractive to the government or developers.
The other categories of property ownership in China are Use Rights and Owning Use Rights, each of which require lower buyout payments. No one in China has full ownership of a residential property and the land on which it is built. Residential land is usually leased for 70 years.
The usual procedure for buying property in China is as follows:
* Find a suitable property and submit an official offer letter (through the agent if used). The letter sets out the agreed price, payment schedules and other conditions. When the offer is accepted a deposit of 1% of the purchase price is required.
* Start to make financing arrangements if needed. Some foreign banks provide mortgage facilities for foreigners purchasing property in China.
* The agency or legal representative carry out checks on the property and owner. In the case of some properties, there is at this stage a need to apply for the approval of the government and the public security bureau for the sale to proceed.
* The seller and the buyer enter into an “official sales contract”. Foreign buyers must have their contract notarized. At this stage, a 30% deposit is payable to the seller.
* An application is made to the government Deed and Title Office for transfer of the deed from the seller to the buyer, on payment of the relevant taxes and fees. Before this can be done, the current owner must pay off any mortgage that exists on the property. This process can take several weeks to complete. The ownership certificate is then issued, and the buyer pays the outstanding 70% of the purchase price and takes possession.