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Per capita housing space triples in 20 years
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The per capita housing space for urban Chinese was more than tripled in the past two decades, said an official on Monday.

"Currently the per capita floor space for residents in cities and towns reached 28 square meters, growing at an average rate of one square meter a year since the early 1980s, when the figure was less than eight square meters," said Qi Ji, vice minister of construction.

Commercial houses have become the major housing supply in cities and townships, investment in which accounts for 85 percent of the total, according to Qi.

More than 40 million urban households nationwide improved their living condition by purchasing commercial houses or second-hand houses, Qi noted.

China has an urban population of about 400 million, who found it hard to buy a house due to skyrocketing house prices.

The average property price in China's 70 large and medium-sized cities last December were up 10.5 percent from the same month of the previous year, while in Beijing it was up 17.5 percent, according to the National Development and Reform Commission in January.

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao has pledged in his government work report on March 5 to allocate 6.8-billion-yuan (951 million U.S. dollars) in the 2008 budget to build low-rent houses for urban poor.

(Xinhua News Agency March 17, 2008)

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