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Gov't to Close Low-cost Housing Loopholes

An official with the Beijing Construction Commission said that stricter criteria will be introduced when local people apply to purchase government-subsidized housing.

"Family assets, including existing housing, cars, stocks, savings and jewelry will be key criteria to assess applicants' ability to buy low-cost homes," said Cheng Jianhua, vice director of the commission's housing management department.

Low-cost homes are only for local low-income families who cannot afford to buy housing on the open market, Cheng said, pointing out that some relatively well-off families had managed to purchase such housing.

Cheng explained that the new restrictions would serve to ensure that such housing is allocated to those who truly deserve it, adding that a comprehensive assessment procedure will also be set up.

But details of how to assess applicants' family assets have yet to be worked out, according to Ke Ting, a publicity official with the Beijing construction authority.

Beijing started the construction of government-subsidized housing early in 1998. And more than 50 such projects with a combined floor space of over 2,000 million square meters have so far been completed in the capital, providing homes to more than 200,000 families.

According to Beijing's housing construction plan for 2006-10, the city will build 110,000 low-cost homes with a combined floor space of 8 million square meters before the end of next year.

In another development, local authorities in Beijing have also tightened up their supervision of the real estate market, in a bid to cool down soaring property prices.

Some 64 real estate developers in Beijing have been blacklisted since March for publishing false market information and for the unlicensed sale of homes, according to Shen Jie, director of the housing market administration department of the Beijing Construction Commission.

(China Daily October 13, 2007)

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