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Govt reveals new-year pledge on housing prices

Updated: 2011-01-01 09:08

By Wang Jingqiong (China Daily)

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BEIJING - China's central government will strengthen its campaign to control soaring housing prices in 2011, a senior official said on Wednesday.

Minister of Housing and Urban-Rural Development Jiang Weixin told a national work conference that the government will increase the regulation of the country's property market while also strengthening the implementation of tightening measures introduced in 2010.

Jiang said the central government will provide more favorable policies to help people who buy houses to live in but, in a bid to stop housing prices soaring, it will restrict house purchases intended for investment and speculation.

Jiang said that the ministry would assess local governments' performances in stabilizing property prices to ensure central government measures are properly implemented.

In 2011 China will also continue to increase the supply of land for residential properties and strengthen the management of the Public Housing Fund.

According to Jiang, in the next five years China will increase the supply of affordable housing, renovate more shantytowns and develop public rental housing to solve the accommodation problems of middle- and low-income earners, the newly employed and migrant workers.

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The country built 5.9 million units of affordable housing and renovated 1.36 million dangerous rural dwellings in 2010, compared with the annual target of 5.8 million units and 1.2 million units, respectively.

In 2010 the government introduced a string of tightening measures to cool the real estate market, including suspending mortgages for purchases of third homes in Beijing, Shanghai and other major cities, speeding up trials of possible new property taxes and raising down payment requirements for first-home buyers.

"These measures have helped contain speculative demand to some extent," Jiang said, "And this year we will continue to limit mortgage loans for buyers of second and third homes in major cities."

However, the latest figures from the National Bureau of Statistics showed that property prices in 70 major Chinese cities still rose 7.7 percent on average year-on-year in November.

In his recent radio and online communications with the public, Premier Wen Jiabao acknowledged that the policies, which were designed to curb skyrocketing housing prices, had not achieved satisfactory results.

"I made a promise to the Chinese people last year that I would try to keep housing prices at a reasonable level during my tenure, and I won't shrink from that goal," Wen said on Dec 26.

"I believe that, through our consistent efforts, housing prices will drop to a reasonable level."

Xinhua contributed to this story.


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