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Beijing to curb housing prices
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Beijing vice- and acting mayor Guo Jinlong said yesterday the municipal government will work hard to contain the housing price hike and provide low-rent housing for poor residents.


He said the government will, among other measures, strengthen macro controls on the property market, adjust land provision and keep a tight housing credit policy to achieve the goal.


The government will spend 2.9 billion yuan ($400 million) to build and purchase 500,000 sq m of houses and flats and rent them to low-income residents at affordable prices, the official told about 770 lawmakers at the annual session of the legislature.


Beijing will also build a total of 7.5 million sq m of houses and flats with reasonable prices and sizes this year, as one of the measures to curb the price hike, Guo added.


The government has plans to spend 580 million yuan to renovate the houses of 10,000 families that live in dangerous conditions.


The average property price in 70 major cities in the country last month were up 10.5 percent from the same period the previous year, while in Beijing it was up 17.5 percent, figures from the National Development and Reform Commission showed earlier this week.


Officials from the Ministry of Construction have criticized some developers for being only interested in building large-sized luxurious apartments for high profits.


A number of developers hoarded land and apartments or spread false information to create public fear of housing shortages to drive up prices, Vice-Minister of Construction Qi Ji said.


Earlier this month, the State Council, China's Cabinet, made amendments to the regulation on administrative punishment for price violations, which will hand out more stringent penalties for illegal price manipulations.


(Xinhua News Agency January 21, 2008)


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