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Gov't Urged to Save Land for Low-income Housing

China has urged local governments to reserve at least 70 percent of the land designated for residential construction for low-rent units or smaller, cheaper commercial homes.

Local governments should fully implement the state's macro-control policies and accelerate the establishment of a housing security system, said Qi Ji, Vice Minister of Construction, at a meeting on Wednesday in Qingdao City, in east China's Shandong Province.

He stressed that land used to build houses for low-income families, whether low-rent units or low-cost commercial flats with size and price ceilings, should comprise at least 70 percent of the total land used for residential construction in the next two years.

Housing price inflation in China hit a new monthly high of 9.5 percent in October, 0.6 percentage point higher than in September, despite government efforts to cool the boom.

The government has been trying to curb soaring real estate prices and guarantee adequate housing for the needy. Regulators have raised interest rates, ordered developers to build more low-cost, small homes and imposed curbs on the purchase of second homes and foreign investment in real estate.

In August, the Ministry of Construction urged local governments to use 10 percent of the profits from land rentals and sales to help the millions who cannot afford commercial housing.

The government has set up a system to provide low-rent houses for urban families whose living space is less than 10 square meters per person.

(Xinhua News Agency November 22, 2007)

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