Plan to supply land for houses falls a bit short

08:25, January 31, 2011      

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The central government did not achieve its goal of ensuring a certain amount of land was supplied for housing construction in the past year, according to a report released by the Ministry of Land and Resources on Saturday.

The ministry said that more than 30 percent of the land that should have been allocated for residential housing was still going toward other uses.

In 2010, about 125,400 hectares of the 184,700 hectares the government wanted to have set aside for housing construction were actually used for that stated purpose. Those figures take into account land use in the country's 30 municipalities, provinces and autonomous regions, but exclude the Tibet autonomous region and Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps, the report said.

The total land supply for housing rose more than 64 percent between 2009 and 2010, according to the report.

The ministry said the government tried hard to reach its goals but fell short because of inexperience, noting that the first plan for supplying land for urban housing was released only in April 2010.

According to the report, the land set aside for affordable housing, small- to medium-sized apartments and the reconstruction of shantytowns comprised 108,900 hectares. That number was an increase of 42.5 percent over the amount of land used for the same purpose in 2009, according to the report.

The report also said that the amount of land set aside for affordable housing rose by 124.5 percent from 2009 to 2010.

It said Shanghai, Zhejiang province's Ningbo and Beijing met the goals laid out in their 2010 land-supply plans and that Shenzhen provided twice the amount of land it had hoped to set aside for affordable housing.

The ministry said the number of hectares provided for affordable housing in 2010 took up nearly 20 percent of the total land supply.

Of the total supply of land for housing, about 76.4 percent is available for affordable housing, small- and medium-sized houses and the reconstruction of shantytowns, the report said.

Dou Jingli, deputy director of the ministry's land use and administration department, told China National Radio (CNR) on Saturday that the ministry will further strengthen its supervision of the real estate market in 2011 and that developers will be banned from land auctions if they use land set aside for affordable housing for anything but the official purpose.

She said the 2011 plan setting out goals for the use of land for urban housing will be released to the public before the end of March, adding that the construction of 10 million affordable houses will be a top priority.

Property experts applauded the government for increasing the amount of land set aside for urban housing and for its efforts to curb the soaring price of housing.

Yan Jinming, a professor of land management at Renmin University of China, said the supply of both land and money exercises a great influence on the cost of housing.

"The government is increasing the land supply for urban housing and has tightened monetary policies, which will stabilize the property market," Yan said.

By Wang Qian, China Daily
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