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Chinese premier calls for healthy development of real estate
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Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao on Wednesday called for a healthy development of the country's real estate market at an executive meeting of the State Council, or the Cabinet.

A document released after the meeting said the recently-adopted domestic demand expansion and economic stimulus policies had positive impact on the property market. Trading volumes in some cities were picking up.

At present, efforts should be made to keep market-oriented in developing real estate, step up building of houses for low-income families, encourage housing transactions and maintain a reasonable scale of real estate development.

The document said governments would spend three years to build houses for 7.5 million low-income families in urban areas and 2.4 million households in shanty towns in forests, reclamation areas and coal mines. They would also continue renovating aged buildings in rural areas.

The central government would keep financing these building and renovating projects, offer higher subsidies for the less developed central and western regions and carry out pilot projects in some area to test the feasibility of supporting construction with idle funds in local housing provident fund accounts.

In a bid to encourage transaction, second-home buyers, with per-capita room-at-home lower than the local average, would be allowed to enjoy favorable policies for first-time house buyers.

Tax on house transactions would also be reduced next year. Home owners who had lived-in for more than two years would be exempted from a transaction tax, which had been levied on houses lived in for less than five years. For those who had lived-in for less than two years, the base of tax would be transaction price minus the original price.

Banks should lend to developers of low-price apartments, especially those under construction, and offer services for mergers by credible developers.

The central government demanded local authorities keep a close eye on the real estate market, find new problems in time and step up supervision on use of subsidies and quality of construction projects.

(Xinhua News Agency December 18, 2008)

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