What hope for aspiring homebuyers?

PUBLISHED : Monday, 01 May, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 01 May, 2006, 12:00am

A fierce debate has erupted over China's surging property prices, making basic housing unaffordable to the masses.


The media has churned out articles almost daily attacking extortionate developers who capitalise on double-digit margins as the central government tightens land supply.


'Earnings for developers equate 10 years income for farmers' screamed an article in the China Securities Journal late last month.


Property prices nationwide continue to rise, but there is a catch as the statistics are a tabulation of 70 mainland cities from far-flung Lanzhou in the northwest to the prosperous Hangzhou city in the east.


In Shenzhen, average prices jumped 11 per cent, one of the higher price jumps, but then again, it's based on a city average. In its BlueBook on property, the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences says prices will only rise, not dip, going forward. The question is whether income growth can keep pace with these increases. Last year, national urban incomes rose 9.6 per cent.


Beijing has pledged to ensure a supply of affordable housing to urban dwellers and rein in runaway prices by controlling loans and land supply, as well as imposing sales and capital taxes in certain cities.


Below are views of professionals and people from different walks on life on the market and how the government should move to ensure healthy development.