The cost of housing, medical care and education top the list of concerns for Beijing residents, with soaring house prices firmly installed at number one, the Beijing Blue Book said Tuesday.
The "2007 Report on Beijing Economic Development", published by the Beijing municipal Social Sciences Academy, predicts that even if further price rises are on the cards in the short term, house prices will start to decline in the next two to three years.
Academy researchers believe that factors like property taxes, an appreciating RMB, bank interest rates and government subsidized housing will cool down the sizzling Beijing market in the next two to three years.
Blue Book statistics show that 5.8 million Beijing residents now have medical insurance. The Beijing municipal government spent 2.1 billion yuan (about US$26 million) last year on building community clinics and township-level hospitals.
Although the municipal reform and development commission published the retail prices of the most popular medicines in 2006, hospitals have made little progress in curbing costs. Beijingers regularly complain about expensive medicine and high hospital fees.
(Xinhua News Agency January 31, 2007)