Beijing targets housing prices

15:00, March 30, 2011      

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Beijing officials vowed recently to reign in rising housing prices in the capital, where the cost of living is among the highest in the nation.

Officials responsible for housing at the municipal government announced targets for price controls for newly-built residential projects, including more investments in affordable housing — either for rent or sale — for lower-income groups and lower prices in the residential housing market.

Analysts say those goals are the boldest among those that have been announced, showing the strong commitment and confidence of the Beijing municipal government.

Local governments are ordered to release to the public this year's housing price control targets within the first quarter, which are supposed to be based on the local economic growth, the rise of per capita income of local residents and the residents' payment ability for housing.

However, at the end of first quarter, many local governments are still reluctant to announce their policies and measures on housing price controls. Plans that have already been declared have been criticized as plans that will have an opposite effect of raising prices.

Beijing will take an array of measures to consolidate and expand the progress that has been made to further put the housing prices under control at a more specific way, said Beijing officials.

The municipal government plans to have about 360,000 units of affordable apartments available for lower income groups.

Chen Zhi, deputy secretary-director of Beijing Real Estate Association, explains that the price control policy actually involves two sides. One is to keep the prices stable by guaranteeing the land supply and prices for residential projects. The other is to fully implement the measures of cracking down on speculative investment on the market.

In February, Beijing announced what was thought to be China's most stringent price control policies by restricting local residents from buying a third house and imposing limitations for residents without a Beijing hukou, a registration entitling a person to Beijing residence and the associated privileges and social benefits.

By Li Jia, People's Daily Online

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