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August 4, 2010

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Budget home plan goes ahead

THE budget home program will be expanded to more districts in the city during the second half of this year after successful trial operations in Xuhui and Minhang, Mayor Han Zheng said yesterday.

"Valuable experience has been acquired through trial practices in Xuhui and Minhang," Han told a work conference. "More parts of the city, namely all the downtown districts as well as a few suburban districts, should be covered by the program in the second half."

Priorities on the government agenda include that construction of budget homes should be accelerated to guarantee supply while the threshold for applicants should be further lowered so that more people can qualify.

The city's target to build 20 million square meters, or 300,000 units, of budget homes by 2012 remains unchanged, Han said.

And in the latest effort to allow more people to benefit from the program, Shanghai announced last week that local families with a monthly disposable income of no more than 2,900 yuan (US$428) per head and financial assets of no more than 90,000 yuan per head now qualify for budget home applications. That compared to the previous criteria of 2,300 yuan and 70,000 yuan.

The city will also step up efforts to ensure collection of accurate information regarding applicants' home-ownership and economic status, for instance, by forging closer ties with the banking and securities authorities to prevent under-reporting of financial assets by some applicants.

Initial agreement on such cooperation has already been reached and more details need to be worked out for its final implementation, which is still pending state-level approval, Han said.

Moreover, names of all successful applicants in the city's budget home program should be published in designated media in an aim to guarantee the project's transparency.

The city's budget home program kicked off in December, initially in Xuhui and Minhang. A total of 2,094 families, 1,629 in Xuhui and 465 in Minhang, have confirmed they will participate in home-selection.


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