Construction workers paint a property project in Shanghai. (Photo provided to China Daily)
China will provide some 2.4 million units of subsidized rental housing this year, an official from the nation's top housing regulator said on Thursday.
One of the key tasks the country has set for itself is ensuring stability in the real estate industry and creating adequate housing supply to meet demand.
So, reforms will seek to improve the housing supply structure, said Wang Menghui, minister of housing and urban-rural development, during a news conference of the State Council Information Office.
Regulations should be stable, consistent, accurate and coordinated. While maintaining the long-term mechanism of the sector and firm demand, reasonable home purchase requirements for improved living conditions should be satisfied, so as to promote the sector's healthy development and a virtuous cycle, which will ensure stability of the prices of land and homes and of market expectations, Wang said.
Thanks to the joint efforts of all the parties concerned, China's real estate market was stable last year, with consensus emerging on the principle of "housing is for living in, not for speculation".
Some 1.565 billion square meters of gross floor area of commercial housing was traded across the nation in 2021, up 1.1 percent year-on-year, said Ni Hong, vice-minister of housing and urban-rural development.
The growth of home prices has been slowing. In 2021, average trading price of new homes grew 2 percent, and that of pre-owned apartments increased 1 percent in the nation's 70 large and medium-sized cities, down 1.7 percentage points and 1.1 percentage points, respectively.
In January, 50 out of the 70 major cities saw their new home prices increase year-on-year and 39 saw their existing home prices grow, according to data compiled by the National Bureau of Statistics.
Investments in real estate development grew 4.4 percent year-on-year to 14.8 trillion yuan ($2.33 trillion) in 2021, with those in the residential segment rising 6.4 percent.
"The stable real estate market performance also proved that the long-term mechanism for the property market is taking shape," said Ni.
Property cannot be treated as a tool for short-term economic stimulus. Guidance and local measures to match local conditions can promote the sector's healthy development, he said.
"To get there, several real estate developers' debt defaults, and property projects' overdue delivery should be addressed," Ni said.
That will ensure orderly delivery of homes to homebuyers, thus helping secure people's livelihood and maintain stability. Disposal of debts and delivery of homes will be conducted in accordance with laws and market principles, and will ensure social stability and lawful rights of homebuyers, Ni said.
Zhang Dawei, chief analyst at Centaline Property Agency Ltd, said he is glad to note that the real estate industry will play an active role in stabilizing the economy.
At the same time, great efforts will be made to increase supply of subsidized rental housing.
Wang said: "We can construct 2.4 million units (apartments or rooms) this year as well as create an additional 100,000 units of public housing and renovate 1.2 million old urban flats."
He also said the development of the long-term rental housing market will be accelerated.
As many as 942,000 units of new subsidized rental housing became available in 40 Chinese cities last year.
In order to raise this year's number of new subsidized rental housing units to 2.4 million, the real estate regulator called for the execution of affiliated measures with regard to land, approval procedures, central government subsidies, favorable taxation and fees, among others.
"I believe that if a city's young people are full of hope, the city itself will be hopeful. This principle is applicable to China," Ni said.