CHINA / Regional

Beijing maps out property development blueprint
By Liu Weifeng (China Daily)
Updated: 2006-04-06 06:04

Beijing will tighten control over property development inside the Fourth Ring Road and encourage welfare housing projects to be built in suburbs, said the city's land use planner.

According to Beijing Municipal Land Resources Bureau, no new commercial housing or skyscraper projects will be approved in central downtown areas but the land planned for welfare housing will increase.

"The increase in the amount of land dedicated to welfare housing shows the government's commitment to low-income people," Lin Yueqin, economist of Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said yesterday.

Lin said that some luxury buildings were built in the name of economy housing, but prices were unaffordable to those on low incomes.

According to the city's land development plan, for the 6,500 hectares available, about 40 per cent is to be developed in urban areas, and the remaining 60 per cent is to be developed in the new suburban towns.

Business insiders have applauded the land use scheme.

"If the plan is well implemented, the rate of vacant rooms and buildings in the capital will decrease," said Jessica Zhang, chief operating officer and China area executive director of Australia-based Sinolink Property Agency.

She also predicted a surge in the second-hand house market.

As part of the scheme, no new land will be allowed to have villas and golf courses built on it this year.

Beijing currently has about 30 golf clubs.

(China Daily 04/06/2006 page2)