Real Estate Construction Shanghai China
Workers demolishing old residential buildings in central Shanghai. Reuters

Beijing has announced plans to battle corruption and abuse of power in the country's real estate sector, moves designed to help millions of rural Chinese migrate easily into cities.

The anti-graft plans are part of an urbanisation programme designed to support a restructuring of the world's second largest economy, away from exports and towards one driven mainly by domestic consumer demand.

Corruption is rampant in China, particularly within the state administration, where several officials and their families have amassed wealth by abusing their authority, often in the areas of real estate and land ownership.

The new draft rules set conditions for the application, allocation, use and rent of public housing alongside subsidies and administrative oversight, reported the official Xinhua news agency.

The new rules will also boost penalties for fraud and illegal use of public housing and specify the responsible governments and departments as well as the conditions for abuse of power, neglect of duty, bribery and fraud, the state media reported.

House prices in China have surged over the past twelve months, fuelling worries of a price bubble and aggravating social problems as millions of Chinese find themselves priced out of the market, reported Reuters.

Local governments, under pressure from central authorities to cool prices, have rolled out several measures including making more land available, clamping down on second-home purchase and limiting mortgages.

Tough restrictions on migration also mean that many Chinese have moved into cities without proper permission, becoming a source of social instability.