Sun, February 27, 2011
China > Politics

Chinese Premier Wen chats online with Internet users(4)

2011-02-27 09:29:05 GMT2011-02-27 17:29:05(Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

Wen said the government would work to increase housing supplies, with 36 million affordable homes planned in the five years to 2015, including 10 million this year. Last year, 5.9 million affordable homes were built.

The central government has signed strict agreements with provincial governments to guarantee the construction of 10 million subsidized apartments this year.

Vice Premier Li Keqiang Thursday ordered local governments to increase funding and land supplies for affordable housing projects, stressing the construction of 10 million units was a mandatory task that must be fulfilled this year.

The government would also step up efforts to develop low-rent public housing, said Wen. With its huge population and limited land, China's property policy should be appropriate to its situation and it did not mean that every Chinese owned their own property.

Wen also said the government would "resolutely" curb demand of home purchases for investment and speculation.

"We will use economic, legal and administrative methods if necessary to restrict speculation," Wen said, adding he was confident the measures would eventually reduce speculation.

The government would also crack down on illegal activities, including the hoarding of land and the delaying of sales to earn higher profits.

"Property firms, as members of society, should shoulder responsibilities of their own and have ethics," Wen said.

The government would endeavor to meet its responsibilities and monitor the market to curb unreasonable price gains, Wen said.

Taming housing prices

In response to complaints about soaring home prices, Wen also reiterated his determination to tame the country's runaway housing prices during his tenure as Premier, which is to end in March 2013.

Wen made the pledge in response to complaints about soaring home prices in an on-line chat with the public, jointly hosted by the websites of the central government (www.gov.cn) and Xinhua News Agency (www.news.cn).

The pledge came exactly a year after Wen vowed to tame "wild horse" housing prices during another on-line chat.

"We have to contain the excessive price growth and keep housing prices at a reasonable level," Wen said.

"I am still confident that we will achieve the goal of policies."

China's housing prices have been climbing steeply since June 2009, fueled by record bank lending and tax breaks. The monthly year-on-year growth rate hit a record 12.8 percent in April last year.

To avoid a property bubble, the government has announced a series of policies to discourage speculation and curb excessive price rises, including higher down payments and lending rates, purchase limits and increased housing supplies.

However, housing prices are still rising, with prices of new properties in 68 of 70 major cities up from a year earlier again in January.

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