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Debate over decorating rules

A LOCAL government requirement saying decorated apartments should account for a proportion of new homes built in residential projects has drawn mixed reactions.

The Shanghai Municipal Housing, Land and Resource Administration Bureau on Monday offered up 14 pieces of land for public bidding, among which eight are allocated for residential use. For the first time, developers are required to decorate at least 10 percent of the homes on seven of the plots. One plot in Songjiang District requires 30 percent to be decorated, a local newspaper reported yesterday.

"Offering decorated apartments is certainly an industry trend as it can help homebuyers save both time and effort," said Huang Hetao, a researcher at Century 21 China Real Estate. "It will mean less resources are wasted, which is better for the environment."

Currently, the majority of new homes built in the country are sold as shells and homebuyers need to finish and design the interiors themselves.

However, some didn't agree with the new policy.

"It's not appropriate to make these requirements now since we don't even have a fixed definition of what a 'decorated' apartment is," Lu Qilin, deputy head of research at Shanghai Uwin Real Estate Information Services Co, told Shanghai Daily yesterday.

Even before the new requirement was put in place, some domestic developers had already started to increase the proportion of decorated homes in their portfolios.

China Vanke Co, the country's biggest residential property developer, said earlier it planned to stop offering bare-shell homes by the end of this year while Greenland Group, a leading real estate developer in the city, also said it has been making efforts to build more ready-to-move-in homes.

Opinions among homebuyers are split.

"I prefer bare-shell products because I want to make sure that my home is properly decorated to my own taste," said Chris Wang, a finance director in her early 30s who just spent a few months decorating her three-bedroom apartment in Changning District.

But for Lily Li, a telecommunications manager in her late 20s, a decorated apartment would be better.

"If it can save me a lot of effort and time, why not?" she said.


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