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December 14, 2009

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Budget homes attract crowds

THOUSANDS of locals flocked to budget house application policy inquiry sites over the weekend to check whether they were qualified.

Xuhui and Minhang, the first two pilot districts, handled more than 300 inquirers within the first hour, mostly needy locals with housing problems.

At the consulting site at Tianlin area in Xuhui District, there were queues more than 50 meters long yesterday morning.

Many of the residents came from other districts across the city to seek information about the scheme.

"I'm anxious very much about my housing problem," said a middle-aged man from the Pudong New Area.

In an online survey of 2,000 people by, one of the city's biggest news Websites, about 62 percent thought the application threshold was too strict, as only a few residents could benefit, and about 31 percent worried the policy might be enjoyed by the unqualified or even rich people.

Applicants can benefit only from either the budget home policy or the house demolition policy, not both.

"A cane might not be sweet on both ends," said Li Dong, a Shanghai housing authority official. "The budget houses belong to social resources and will be distributed to a few people really in need."

Li said those buying the budget apartments would no longer be compensated when their old houses were demolished and those who receive demolition compensation can't qualify for budget apartments.

Shanghai is planning to build 6 million square meters of budget apartments and applications will be available citywide next year. Prices for the first batch of homes were set at between 4,800 yuan (US$703) and 5,200 yuan per square meter.

To qualify, applicants must be Shanghai residents living in the district or county where they apply for at least seven years and in apartments with an average per capita space of less than 15 square meters.

Monthly disposable income must be no more than 2,300 yuan per head and financial assets should be no more than 70,000 yuan per head.

Single residents will be allowed to apply if they meet the requirements and are over the age of 30.


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