China / Government

Annual policy meeting maps the road ahead

By Xinhua (China Daily) Updated: 2015-12-22 07:56

China will roll out measures to reduce its property inventory and stabilize its ailing housing market, according to a statement released on Monday after a key policy meeting.

Attendees at the Central Economic Work Conference agreed that rural residents relocating to urban areas should be allowed to register as city residents, which would enable them to buy or rent property.

In addition, a low-rent public housing program would cover those without household registration, the statement said.

Individuals and organizations will be encouraged to buy properties for rental purposes, and the government will support rental enterprises, it said.

Property developers will also be encouraged to change marketing rules and "properly" reduce home prices.

The statement also said the country will promote the consolidation of property developers.

"Obsolete restrictive measures should be revoked," the statement said.

Although nearly 55 percent of China's population live in cities, less than 40 percent are registered urban residents.

The central government plans to raise those numbers to around 60 percent and 45 percent by 2020.

China's housing market took a downward turn in 2014 due to weak demand and a supply glut. The cooling has continued into 2015, with sales and prices falling and investment slowing.

To address market weakness and the broader economic slowdown, China's central bank has cut benchmark interest rates five times since last November and lowered banks' reserve requirement ratio three times since February.

The country also lowered deposit requirements for second-home purchases, and some local governments have rolled back restrictions on home purchases.

Partly due to such measures, the housing sector has experienced a mild recovery since summer with improving home prices.

Lowering corporate costs will also be a major task under China's economic plan for 2016, according to the statement. The country "will roll out a mix of solutions to help companies in the real economy reduce their costs," the statement said.

The government should streamline administrative procedures and delegate power, cut taxes and fees and bring down social security contributions to alleviate the burden on companies, it said.

Financial regulators were urged to reduce the financing costs of enterprises to benefit the real economy.

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