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January 25, 2010

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City eyes more budget homes

SHANGHAI is considering expanding its budget home program to make housing affordable for more people, local authorities said when addressing inquiries from the city's top advisory body yesterday.

Liu Haisheng, head of the Shanghai Housing Support and Building Administration Bureau, said the government has been conducting a feasibility study on expanding the program.

"The current criteria can just meet demand for very low income households," Liu said. "With a growing supply of budget homes, we will also take into consideration the demand of families with mid-level incomes."

He made the remarks at a meeting with members of the Shanghai Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference.

The meeting was a prelude of the local CPPCC session, which opens today at Shanghai Exhibition Center.

Shanghai has started reviewing the qualifications of about 2,600 households that applied for a budget home, which costs between 4,800 yuan (US$703) and 5,200 yuan per square meter, less than half the average market price at present.

To qualify, applicants must be Shanghai residents who have lived in less than 15 square meters for at least seven years. Their disposable monthly income must be less than 2,300 yuan (US$336.7) with no more than 70,000 yuan each in assets.

The criteria kept away many households who are unable to afford commercial properties in the city.

Traffic and World Expo 2010 were also hot topics at yesterday's meeting.

About 256 members of the Shanghai Committee of CPPCC attended the meeting, with officials of 34 local government entities taking questions.

Proposals included urging a reduction in Metro fees, making land less expensive to cut costs for property developers and create more affordable housing, and diversifying the flow of visitors at the World Expo site.


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