Caixin OnlinePolitics & LawTop Stories Politics Cities Struggle with Affordable Housing
06.30.2011 15:42

Cities Struggle with Affordable Housing

Faced with financial pressures and a housing backlog, local governments have eased the income ceilings for affordable housing
By staff reporters Lan Fang and Zhang Yanling

(Beijing) – The government is in the midst of an unprecedented push to build 3.6 million units of guaranteed housing in the next three years, but the program has yet to benefit its intended low-income audience.

Though the massive project comes with a trillion dollar-plus pricetag, local governments flush with cash and land have thus far said they are that they can get the job done. From their perspective, the initiative presents a clear roadmap to a stable real estate market: when the government supplies enough housing to satisfy demand and monetary supplies return to normal levels, it can then repeal property purchasing caps that were implemented last year to restrict real estate prices.

A Caixin investigation, however, has found that the neediest people in cities like Shanghai, Chongqing, Beijing and Shenzhen still cannot afford government-subsidized housing. But rather than taking measures to bring prices down, municipal governments have opted to relax income ceilings for applicants, thereby allowing more high-income residents to buy subsidized housing.

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