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China sells off land-use rights for low-income housing
( 2002-06-26 08:00 ) (8 )

Beijing auctioned off land-use rights on Tuesday with its first ever prerequisite that the buyer must build apartments for low-income residents.

To celebrate the country's 12th national Land Day, Beijing sold the rights to a state-owned plot with a total area of 1.58 million square meters in the Daxing district.

The local government required the buyer to use at least 700,000 square meters of the land for building low-cost apartments, while the rest of the area could accommodate community facilities or other homes.

Li Yuan, vice-minister of Land and Resources, attended Tuesday' s auction, saying that land-use rights sales marked the public acceptance of land use being market-oriented.

Beijing only began auctioning land-use rights in March, lagging far behind the country's other major cities, such as Shenzhen, Shanghai and Hangzhou.

The so-called economy apartments are normally sold at a price only slightly higher than their cost to benefit low-income families. But the low profits on economy apartments make developers reluctant to build them instead of profitable commercial apartments.

Beijing has a huge shortage of accommodation. In some families, three or four generations share one apartment.

Beijing approved the first economy house project in 1998. To date, the city has constructed 1.4 million square meters of economy apartments.

Construction of another 3 million square meters of economy apartments is expected to kick off this year. But still, it will not meet the need.

Li said that auctioning of land-use rights could enhance land- use efficiency, save precious sources and reduce the possibilities of corruption.

In 2001, China auctioned land-use rights on 6,609 hectares of state-owned land, earning 49.2 billion yuan (5.93 billion US dollars), up 138 percent and 42 percent respectively from the previous year's figures.

The country received another 30 billion yuan (3.61 billion US dollars) from the sale of land-use rights during the first five months this year. 



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