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Home prices to be part of performance
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Officials' ability to keep real estate prices stable and affordable will be a major criterion in deciding their performance and career prospects, a senior Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Construction official said yesterday.

"We should be setting up an accountability system for governments and officials soon," Shen Jianzhong, the director of the real estate department of the ministry, said at a press conference of the annual session of the National People's Congress (NPC), which ends today.

The newly approved ministry, to replace the Ministry of Construction, is responsible for realizing China's new housing policy targeted at "ensuring everyone is sheltered".

Shen said local government officials should monitor housing prices to prevent price volatility and ensure that homes remained affordable, but he did not provide details of the accountability system.

The country currently has in place a system to track the performance of governments and officials in managing work safety, family planning, energy saving and emissions control.

Late last year, the government announced a new system for measuring performance, which ties career advancement to success in achieving environmental targets.

Under these new rules, if company bosses or government officials fail to meet half the national goal of reducing energy consumption per unit of GDP by 4 percent annually, they will lose the opportunity to be promoted.

Shen said the country is still faced with mounting pressure from real estate price hikes as supply cannot meet rising demand.

"The land available is limited, which has a big impact on housing prices," Shen said.

He added that the role of the government was to allocate adequate land to build low-cost housing with price caps for the poor and middle-income families.

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