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    » 03/09/2011, 00.00

    CHINA

    China to spend 1.3 trillion yuan to cool housing market



    Housing prices are rising despite government attempts to rein in market speculation. Beijing announces plans to build 10 million new housing units for low-income families.

    Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) – In 2011, China plans to invest 1.3 trillion yuan (US$ 200 billion) to build 10 million housing units for low-income families priced out of the housing market by unfettered speculation, Deputy Minister of Housing and Urban-Rural Development Qi Ji said in an announcement. In his statement, he slammed speculators for leading to “unreasonable” prices.

    “China’s problem with home prices will be gradually solved with the implementation of government policies and the strengthened responsibilities of local governments,” Qi said.

    The central and local governments will provide some 500 billion yuan in funding. Companies and families benefitting from the programme will provide the rest. Easy loans, subsidies and tax incentives will also be offered to people who build their own home.

    In the meantime, housing prices continue to climb, for a 19th month in a row in December. Experts expect however that home prices will rise only 0.5 per cent in February, the slowest monthly gain since August.

    So far, government action has had little impact. Measures include raising the minimum down payment for second-home purchases and introducing taxes for homes in Shanghai and Chongqing where prices are higher.

    Experts are divided over such policies. Some believe prices should drop in the near future, whilst others think they will continue to rise because of ongoing migration towards big cities.

    A few days ago, Prime Minister Wen Jiabao told the National People’s Congress that his government would “resolutely” press ahead with controls on the property market to curb speculation. The government would also “severely punish” irregularities in the real-estate market, implement differentiated credit and tax policies.

    The high prices of housing and essential items, like food, are chipping away at middle class incomes. The government is very concerned that inflation–related hardships might lead to social protests.

    Indeed, not only has the government failed to rein real estate speculation, but big state corporations have been accused of engaging in speculative activity themselves.

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    See also

    15/09/2010 CHINA
    Crisis in China: 64 million empty apartments
    If the housing bubble bursts, millions of middle income families lose their savings. Premier Wen tells the Economic Forum in Tianjin, that "stabilizing house prices" is the "essential" duty for every local government. But experts doubt that local governments will collaborate.

    17/07/2008 CHINA
    Chinese inflation remains high, economic growth slows
    Inflation at 7.1% in June, while producer prices increase 8.8%, a more than 10-year record. China faces the dilemma of containing inflation without impairing production too seriously. Meanwhile, the worst energy crisis in years approaches.

    16/04/2011 CHINA
    Beijing, housing market collapses: down 50% in one year
    In one month, prices have dropped by almost 27%. Nation prepares for burst of housing bubble worse than the United States. The Office of statistics demands punishment for those who published economic data over the Internet before their official publication.

    23/04/2008 VIETNAM
    80 percent of Vietnamese cannot afford to buy a home
    Excessive prices, due in part to speculation, make purchasing impossible for most of the population. Profits on housing construction have reached 4-500 percent.

    08/10/2010 CHINA
    Shanghai adopts new measures against real estate speculation
    Households are banned from purchasing third homes. Banks will be limited in the number of mortgages they can issue; taxes will be raised as well. Experts say such steps can only have short-term effects; affordable housing is needed for low-income families.



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