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Housing policies revamped in Shanghai
( 2003-08-09 14:03) (eastday.com.cn)

Shanghai is fine-tuning its renovation and relocation policies to make them more market oriented, the city's housing authorities said yesterday.

The transparency of relocation polices, particularly, will be further improved. Within the year, Huangpu and Luwan districts will trail-blaze a new system under which residents can get complete information on compensation details. In addition, they will also be able to lodge complaints and provide tips on unscrupulous deals.

The efforts are designed to facilitate the city's urban renovation project which has proven beneficial to upgrading local people's living standards.

Cai yutian, director of Shanghai Housing and Land Administrative Bureau, said more than 800,000 households had moved to larger apartments since 1990 through urban renewal.

The city's average living space has grown to 13.1 square meters per capita, compared with 6.6 square meters in 1990.

During the past 12 years, about 120,000 families who used to have living space of less than 4 square meters per capita, have moved to new and larger homes, according to Shanghai Housing and Land Administrative Bureau.

Life in the dilapidated housing communities was not easy because of the lack of public facilities. About two-thirds of families had to share a bathroom and a kitchen with their neighbors.

"Now, up to 90 percent of local residents are living in apartments with separated sanitary and kitchen facilities," Cai said.

To ease housing problems, Shanghai has invested more than 400 billion yuan (US$48 billion) in new housing. Since 1990, 38 million square meters of old houses have been torn down while 197 million square meters of new housing have been built.

At the end of the 1980s, Shanghai's 10 downtown districts of 280 square kilometers accommodated more than 7.06 million residents. The per capita living area was 5.6 square meters on average.

Cai said families at financial disadvantage were a major concern of the government's housing policies, saying the plan is to stick to a strategy of providing more budget homes.

Families with low incomes and old people, in particular, account for a large proportion of those living in the dilapidated housing communities. They had to rely on government help.

Because of high land costs in downtown areas, the government has adopted preferential policies concerning land leasing for urban reconstruction projects. To boost the renovation of old houses, the city has allocated 1 billion yuan for compensation fees.

However, with the continual rise in housing prices, the compensation fee helps little in new home purchases.

Thus, the city plans to carry on large-scale building of budget housing.

By the end of 2003, apartments with total area of 1 million square meters will be completed. In addition, about 3 million square meters of housing will be built. All are priced below 3,500 yuan per square meter.

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