2007 NPC

China to rein in soaring housing price: Premier

Updated: 2007-03-05 09:52

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said Monday the Chinese government will work to control the overheated property sector and keep housing price at a reasonable level.

"The real estate industry should focus on developing reasonably priced commercial housing for ordinary people," Wen said in a report on the work of the government at the opening meeting of the annual session of the National People's Congress, or parliament.

"We will improve the supply structure of commercial housing, and strengthen oversight and regulation of housing prices," he said.

According to the National Bureau of Statistics, the average price of newly-built commercial residential buildings in 70 big and medium-sized cities nationwide rose 6.1 percent year on year in January, with that in Beijing climbing 9.9 percent.

The Ministry of Construction stipulated last year that the floor area of 70 percent of newly-built commercial residential flats should below 90 square meters each in a bid to ensure more affordable housing for average citizens.

Wen said the government will pay particular attention to addressing the housing problems of low-income families. "We will increase fiscal and tax policy support and set up a sound system of low-rent housing," he said.

He noted that China will strengthen oversight over the real estate sector and crack down on law-violating activities in the property development and sales.

"Local governments must assume their full share of responsibility for the regulation and oversight of local property markets," Wen said.

The premier also said the government will keep consumption at an appropriate level and build environmentally friendly buildings as the country has a large population and relatively little land available for housing building.

Inaction of local officials is widely blamed for the surging housing price. "Many of them see the real estate sector as a major economic growth pillar. As a result, they are unwilling to implement centrally set measures to cool off the overheated property sector," said Wang Changde, a member of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), the country's top political advisory body.

CPPCC member Chu Yaping, deputy director of the supervision bureau in central Henan Province, said officials should be held accountable if they fail to guarantee sufficient affordable housing for local residents.

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