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

He said the government would strengthen the macro control on the property market, adjust land provision and keep a tight housing credit policy, among others, to achieve the goal.

The government would spend 2.9 billion yuan (40 million U.S. dollars) to build and purchase 500,000 square meters 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 would also build a total of 7.5 million square meters 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 planed to spend 580 million yuan to renovate the houses for 10,000 families that were in dangerous conditions.

The average property price in China's 70 and medium-sized cities in 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 (NDRC) earlier this week.

Officials with the Ministry of Construction have criticized that some developers were only interested in building large-sized luxurious apartments for high profit.
Some development companies hoarded land and apartments or spread false information to create public fear for housing shortages so they could 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 to allow more stringent penalties for illegal price manipulations.

(Xinhua News Agency January 20, 2008)

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