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6m affordable homes slated for 2013: minister

By Song Shengxia (Global Times)

09:12, November 13, 2012

China plans to start building around 6 million units of government-subsidized housing next year, and is not ready to ease its policy of housing purchase restrictions, the country's housing minister said Monday.

The ministry is still discussing the plan to start construction of affordable homes next year, with units numbering at least 5 million and probably closer to 6 million, Jiang Weixin, minister of Housing and Urban-Rural Development, said on the sidelines of the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) on Monday.

According to Jiang, China plans to build 36 million units of government-subsidized housing by the end of the 12th Five-Year Plan period (2011-15) to meet the demand of low-income households, and has already started construction on 10 million units last year and another 7 million this year.

Apart from building affordable homes, distribution management is also a tricky issue, Jiang said.

According to Jiang, the existing distribution measures focus on selecting the applicants who meet the criteria and publicizing that information, but may not adequately prevent unqualified applicants from obtaining affordable homes.

Jiang vowed to improve distribution management so that only qualified candidates have access to government-subsidized affordable homes.

"Since 2011, government-subsidized homes accounted for around 30 percent of the total transactions of new homes on the market," Zhang Xu, an analyst at real estate brokerage Homelink, told the Global Times in a research note Monday.

"With the increase in completed government-subsidized homes, their impact on demand in the market will get bigger," Zhang said.

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