[photopress:chinahouses.jpg,full,alignright]A Ministry of Finance circular reports that urban authorities have been ordered to spend 5 percent of their revenues earned through land sales to build low-rent apartments.
The circular also requires municipal governments to allocate more funds to low-rent housing in their annual budgets, while the central government is to provide subsidies to local governments for low-rent housing.
Previously, funds for low-rent housing mainly came from interest earned by the Public Housing Fund, which is a mortgage fund paid by urban employees and their employers who plan to buy their own homes.
According to the Ministry of Construction, the Chinese government has spent RMB4.74 billion ($593 million) on low-rent housing since the early 1990’s. This, basically, has assisted 329,000 households, which, considering the size of the problem, is a very low number.
Of China’s 291 cities at or above prefecture level around 70 are not providing low-rent housing. A recent document has ordered the 70 cities to establish a subsidized housing system by the end of 2006.