Affordable housing gets boost in Shanghai

11:14, May 16, 2010      

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Shanghai plans another 23 large residential communities in non-central areas of the city this year as it moves to increase the supply of affordable housing, officials said yesterday.

The 23 communities, mainly located in outlying areas with convenient subway links as well as necessary ancillary commercial facilities, cover a total land area of 105 square kilometers, of which 40 square kilometers are designated for housing development, Vice Mayor Shen Jun told a municipal conference yesterday.

When completed, they will be able to offer 1.2 million apartments with a total gross floor area of 80 million square meters, Shen said.

Under the plan, 55 square kilometers of land should be ready for development by the third quarter of next year, of which 20 square kilometers will be dedicated to residential buildings.

The city government launched the first batch of 15 large residential communities last year to increase local supply of mid- to low-class residences, including small- to medium-sized apartments, budget houses, low-rent homes as well as homes built for relocated residents under urban redevelopment plans.

The central government has unveiled several steps, including reimposing a 5.5 percent sales tax on homes sold within five years from a previous two-year lock-up period, to cool the country's overheated housing market. In mid April, more tightening measures such as a higher down payment for second houses were unveiled.

"The efforts are designed to curb demand, which could be useful for a certain period," said Sky Xue, an analyst at China Real Estate Information Corp. "Insufficient supply is the real reason for high home prices, and what the government is doing now will definitely help that."



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