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Beijing covers more with public rental housing program

(Xinhua)

10:02, October 20, 2011

BEIJING, Oct. 19 (Xinhua) -- The municipal government of Beijing unveiled a regulation Wednesday allowing more people to apply for public rental housing in the latest effort to provide affordable housing.

According to the regulation effective starting December, low and middle-income earners, new employees, and those who are non-local registered but have worked in the city for a certain number of years are eligible to apply for public rental housing.

For the applicants who have already had homes, their current per capita floor area should not exceed 15 square meters.

In addition, for a family with no more than three members, the annual household income should be no more than 100,000 yuan (15,700 U.S. dollars). While for a family with four or more members, the annual income should not exceed 130,000 yuan.

People are allowed to live in the public housing for as long as five years. The rent will be slightly lower than that of neighboring housing, but tenants will get subsidies on rent according to their income levels and housing size.

In the five years to 2015, the city has planned to build and buy over 300,000 public rental apartments, accounting for 60 percent of all affordable public housing.

Zhang Dawei, head of the research department at Centaline Property Agency (Beijing), said the public housing program will help drive down the rents levels in Beijing.

The high housing prices and purchase restrictions for non-local registered people have pushed rents up this year, a big complaint for many low and middle-income earners, especially at a time of high consumer prices.

The falls in rents levels would affect existing home prices and later help drag down new home prices, said Ji Rujin, deputy director of the Real Estate Research Institute at Tsinghua University.

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