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Housing still grows despite slowdown

THE city's housing market slowed dramatically last year but investment continued to grow, Shanghai Municipal Housing, Land and Resource Administration Bureau said today.

Investment in the housing sector rose 2.5 percent to 80.5 billion yuan (US$11.8 billion) between January and November, while the overall real estate market climbed 4.7 percent to 126.2 billion yuan in the 11-month period.

``It is rather obvious that it could be hard to maintain such growth this year amid an uncertain economic scenario both in the country and around the globe,'' Zhang Qi, an analyst with China Index Academy, a leading property research institution in the country, told Shanghai Daily today. ``However, I don't expect significant decline either as far as we take into account the local government's aggressive plan for budget homes and low-rent houses. Very likely, it would remain little changed as compared to 2008.''

Last year construction started on 4.03 million square meters of budget housing and 5.38 million square meters of homes designated for relocated residents, according to the bureau.

Meanwhile, more than 12 million square meters' of aging homes was renovated last year, benefitting more than 240,000 households.

But sales volumes of new houses dropped by 42 percent last year, Shanghai Mayor Han Zheng told a press conference at the end of the Shanghai People's Congress's annual session over the weekend.


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