Chinese govt no longer exclusive supplier of residential land: media
With the deepening of the reform of China's housing market, the government would no longer be the exclusive supplier of land for residential use, in a bid to fix the country's housing squeeze, the state-run Xinhua News Agency reported on Monday.

Jiang Daming, China's Land and Resources minister, indicated in a Monday meeting the situation in which government remains the sole supplier of land for building residential housing would change.

He was quoted as saying that state-owned enterprises not in the real estate business are now permitted to build homes on land they have the right to use as long as the construction complies with local land and urban development plans. Meanwhile, on collectively owned land in China's countryside, rental housing could be built in pilot areas, he added.

Analysts predicted that under the new policies, the price of collectively owned land would greatly increase with local governments no longer in a monopoly position. And it's expected China's housing squeeze in first and second-tier cities would thus be greatly relieved.

Based on a Xinhua commentary, the central government has rolled out the policies to reform existing land system in bid to crack down on speculation, satisfy housing need and stop local governments from relying too much on land sales for revenues.

“The land in the hand of state-owned enterprises earmarked for industrial use could be unleashed now. In those populous cities plagued by land shortage, the policy would help secure more land for building commercial, affordable, and rental housing, or homes of shared property rights between the government and individuals,” said Yan Yuejin, the director of E-house China R&D Institute. reported that the Beijing Municipal Commission of Housing and Urban-Rural Development said on December 7, 2017 there were already around 120,000 apartments built in the capital city by state-owned companies on land for their own use. At the time, some people expressed concerns that many of the homes would be like welfare housing in the past, which are usually for benefiting state-owned companies' own employees.

An official with the commission denied the possibility to the, confirming all the apartments would be included into the capital city's broader plan and then allocated as required. “The state-owned constructors have no rights to allocate the 120,000 apartments earmarked for low-rent, affordable, and price-capped housing,” he said.

It's known that until 1978, most people in urban China were living in welfare housing built and allocated by the government or state-owned enterprises for free. Over the next two decades, only a small-scale privatization of public housing took place. In 1998, a major reform called for an open market for all new homes, with the welfare housing system being phased out.

All new residential flats built after January 1, 1999, became commercial and were sold in an open market. Since then, state-owned enterprises were prohibited from building any more welfare housing for their employees.

“Thirteen cities including Beijing and Shanghai have been designated as pilot cities for building rental housing on collectively owned land. “In the cities, there is not enough state-owned land (to house all city dwellers). If collectively owned land in neighboring villages could be taken into use, the problem of housing shortage would be greatly relieved,” said Wang Dawei, the chief analyst of Centaline Group, one of the top real estate agents in the country.

A South China Morning Post commentary wrote, “using collective land to build rental housing can be considered as a significant innovation of the land system. It helps to release the dividends of collectively owned land resources, by attracting township, real estate developers and various economic entities to participate in the construction and operation of rental housing.”

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