Beijing will strive to rein in soaring prices, provide more affordable housing and ease congestion, as part of its efforts to achieve stable growth and settle issues concerning the livelihood of the people, Mayor Guo Jinlong said Sunday at the city's parliamentary session.
Beijing reported at least 10 percent GDP growth in 2010, and despite widespread complaints of price hikes, the city's consumer price index (CPI), the main gauge of inflation, was kept at 3 percent, according to Guo's report to the annual session of the Beijing Municipal People's Congress, the local legislature.
"This year we are under heavy pressure to stabilize housing and other retail prices while optimizing the investment structure now that a comparatively high proportion of investment goes into the real estate sector," Guo said.
He said the city government will take strict measures to regulate the real estate market, ensure stable and orderly land supply, and curb speculative investment, to keep housing prices from increasing further.
Thanks to an array of policies implemented last year, including tighter credit for commercial housing, the growth rate of unit prices of new apartments in Beijing slowed from May 2010, Guo said, quoting figures released by the municipal housing and urban construction committee.
The data indicated the average price hike for new apartments slowed from 22 percent in May to 14.3 percent in November, bringing the average unit price per square meter down to 20,000 yuan from 23,000 yuan.
This year, he said the city government plans to build more affordable housing for low-income groups. "We will build or buy 200,000 affordable apartments this year, and hopefully, half of them will be ready for people to move in to by the end of the year," said Guo.