Govt sticks to housing plan

08:21, July 20, 2010      

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The government is showing no signs of backing down on its controversial housing policies, the State-owned People's Daily reported Monday.

  Some senior officials including Jiang Weixin, Minister of Housing and Urban-Rural Development, have averred, "the government will not give up on existing policies".

  But analysts, buyers and developers are all skeptical about the government's resolve given the only meager effects the policies have had so far.

  The average home prices in 70 large- and medium-sized cities in June dropped a negligible 0.1 percent month-on-month, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.

  Analysts said the government this time is trying to find a healthier way for the real estate sector to contribute to economic growth.

  "We don't need to worry too much about the economy backsliding because the large scale of affordable housing construction will make up for the decline in commercial residence investment," Chen Guoqiang, director of a real estate research institute with Peking University, said Monday.

  "The demand for construction materials including steel will be very large because of the local governments' goal of building 5.8 million affordable houses this year," Chen said.

  The affordable housing projects will increase around 50 percent. This time the country will take "long-term measures to control the property market," the People's Daily reported.

  The public has been critical of previous efforts to stabilize the housing sector, and prices continue to set records this year.

  The government wanted to correct its failure in housing reforms in 2003 this time, Li Zhanjun, a department head at the E-house China R&D Institute said Monday.

  China's housing reform has gone through a bumpy ride since it started in 1998, when the State Council released a document requiring an affordable housing system for lower income families, while building commercial residences to establish a market-oriented economy.

  In 2003, the State Council released another document setting a goal for most families to be able to purchase or rent commercial housing, making the housing market fully market-oriented. "The government found full marketization led to problems in 2007, so this time they want to ensure both commercial residences and affordable housing are built. That is a long term and healthy strategy," Li said.

Source: Global Times


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