BEIJING -- 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 government work
at the opening of the annual session of the National People's Congress, or
"We will improve the supply structure of commercial housing, and strengthen
oversight and regulation of housing prices," he addressed the 2,890 NPC deputies
in the Great Hall of the People in downtown Beijing.
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 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 environment-friendly buildings as the country has a large
population and relatively little land available for housing.
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.
Another CPPCC member Chu Yaping, deputy director of the supervision bureau of
central Henan Province, said officials should be held accountable if they fail
to guarantee sufficient affordable housing for local residents.
According to the online surveys conducted by some Internet portals ahead of
the NPC session, surging housing price, along with expensive education and
medicare, is a major concern of average Chinese.
"Despite measures taken by the government, housing prices are still on the
rise. Lawmakers should address this problem at the session," one unidentified
netizen wrote at an online forum of people.com.cn run by People's Daily.
Fan Xiang, from Fengtai District of Beijing, said the housing price there has
almost doubled from 4,000 yuan per square meter two years ago. "I can't afford
to buy my own home. My wife, child and I still have to live with my parents," he
Experts say surging housing price has already become an obstacle to building
a harmonious society.
Seventy-five percent of more than 8,400 respondents polled by Xinhuanet.com
said the failure to effectively control rapid increase in property price could
result in social instability as it is not only an economic matter, but one in
political and social sense.