480,000 affordable houses, covering 33.88 million square meters, were constructed across China in the first half of 2009, accounting for only 37 percent of the average annual target.
At the end of 2008, it was proposed in a State Council document about real estate development that between 2009 and 2011, an average of 1.3 million new affordable flats for mid-low income groups should be added annually across the country.
In sharp contrast, sales of commercial housing soared in all parts of China. According to statistics from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), between January and July, 417.5 million square meters of commercial houses were sold nationwide, up 37 percent year-on-year and sales revenue of commercial residential houses increased by 65.3 percent.
The progress of commercial residential housing projects, from the planning approval stage to the construction stage, mainly depends on the following three factors. Firstly, whether land supply planning by the government can be implemented; secondly, whether land acquisition and relocation proceed smoothly; and thirdly, whether developers' capital can be in place. However, it can take years to complete the land acquisition and relocation stage for some projects.
"The main reason behind the current problem is that it takes long time to make preparations," said an official from the Department of Housing Security under the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development.
"This year is the first year of the three-year plan. The preparatory work for the majority of projects is scheduled to be completed by the end of the year. It is normal that projects proceed slowly at the beginning,” he explained.
However, he believes that with the gradual implementation of project planning, land allocation and other work around the country, the number of projects starting construction will noticeably increase in the second half and over the next two years.
By People's Daily Online