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Focus on keeping property 'healthy'

PREMIER Wen Jiabao said yesterday he hoped for stable and healthy development of the country's property sector in the face of the global financial crisis.

China should strengthen management and regulation to keep housing prices and the scale of property construction "at a reasonable level," he said.

Housing prices have long been under fire in China, as consumers complain that houses in large cities are too expensive, giving developers unfair huge profits.

Wen said the government highly valued the property industry as it concerned the life of ordinary people and contributed to the national economy.

The government had urged stronger confidence in the real estate market while pledging more money and attention to meet the needs of low-income families, he said.

The government fund must be used properly to ensure residential buildings are economical, safe and of good quality, Wen said, emphasizing the need to save land.

"Auditing and supervision should go along with all property projects," said Wen. "Problems must be dealt with whenever they emerge."

Property prices in 70 major Chinese cities fell 0.9 percent in January from a year earlier, a faster fall compared with the previous month. In December, the figure showed the first year-on-year drop since 2005.

Analysts attributed the slump to reduced home buying due to the grim economy and future uncertainties.

The Chinese government announced a stimulus package for the ailing property industry in December, giving favorable tax policies and loan terms to home sellers and buyers while favoring low-income housing.


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