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City ramps up affordable housing

From : Xinhua


SHENZHEN, Feb. 16, 2011 -- A TOTAL of 62,000 new government-subsidized homes would be allocated to low-income families this year, a senior official of the municipal housing and construction bureau said Monday.

Bureau chief Li Rongqiang was quoted in yesterday's Shenzhen Economic Daily as saying that work on another 30,000 public homes would start this year with one-third of them scheduled to be completed by the end of the year.

"The pace of the development of public homes will be accelerated this year," Li said. "The government is working on a series of preferential policies to encourage companies to become involved in the construction of low-cost and low-rent housing."

 Li said a special agency would be set up to handle the planning and construction of government-subsidized housing, including land allocation and fund raising.

"Government-subsidized housing is an important part of government efforts to help residents connect to the city and enhance a public sense of belonging," he said.

In addition to the subsidized housing for low-income families, the city government will offer affordable homes to "sandwich" families, who do not qualify for low-cost and low-rent accommodation but cannot afford expensive commercial housing.

 According to the Daily, the total construction area of the 62,000 public homes is about 4 million square meters. About 21,000 homes would be low-rent accommodation with 6,000 low-cost apartments. The remaining 35,000 homes are affordable homes that would be sold to "sandwich" families at lower-than-market prices.

Li said Shenzhen planned to build 240,000 public homes between 2011 and 2015. The total cost of building these apartments would be 69 billion yuan (US$10.46 billion).

An estimated 408,000 professionals would be provided with housing subsidies by the government, said Li.

Shenzhen had built 169,000 public homes over the past five years, 21 percent more than originally planned, the Daily said.