By Feng Jianmin | 2012-12-27 | NEWSPAPER EDITION
LAND next to the north Bund area in Shanghai's Hongkou District became the most expensive plot on China's mainland this year when it sold at auction for 5.68 billion yuan (US$908.8 million) yesterday.
The buyers for the plot, along Haimen Road, designated for offices and retail were Shanghai International Port (Group) Co and affiliate Wei Wang Property Development Co.
The price per square meter was 23,330 yuan, 21 percent higher than the starting price, according to real estate website Soufun.com.
The previous national record price this year was 5.62 billion yuan, or 7,753 yuan per square meter, paid for a land parcel in the east China city of Nanjing last month. Shanghai's previous record was the 5.43 billion yuan, or 11,000 yuan per square meter, paid two weeks ago for a plot in Xuhui District.
Zhang Hongwei, a research director at Shanghai real estate consultants Tospur, said the scarcity of land in downtown areas, the current relatively low price per square meter, and strong demand for office buildings in prime locations had made such sizeable plots attractive to large property developers.
This year's most costly land plot in Shanghai in terms of per-square-meter price was achieved on November 23, when a parcel in Huangpu District, also designated for offices and retail, fetched 36,176 yuan per square meter. That compared to a record of 51,820 yuan per square meter reached in February 2010, also in Huangpu.
Tospur data showed that the average price of office buildings at prime Shanghai locations in the first 11 months of this year was between 28,446 yuan per square meter in the Zhongshan Park area to 66,504 yuan per square meter in Lujiazui.
The deals were made amid a series of signals that the government could be tightening controls on both the commercial and residential property markets. Last week, the Ministry of Land and Resources ordered local authorities to control "abnormal" land prices by stepping up monitoring of companies and land sales.
In terms of residential property, China is to extend purchase restrictions on homes and maintain tight credit and tax policies on multi-home buyers, according to the housing ministry.