Authorities blamed for costly housing

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 23 January, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 23 January, 2007, 12:00am

Most mainlanders doubt the government can tame roaring housing prices and say local authorities are mostly to blame for putting property increasingly out of the buyers' reach, state media said yesterday.

In a joint survey conducted by the China Youth Daily, and Beijing market research firm ePanel, 67.5 per cent of more than 2,500 respondents said local governments should take the greatest blame for the high retail cost of housing. About 61 per cent of respondents thought developers were also to blame, while around 40 per cent of people believed ineffective state policies had led to unaffordable housing, the China Youth Daily reported.

The report said that in a similar poll by the paper in 2005, interviewees pinned responsibility for the high prices on speculating investors, profiteering developers and a rapidly expanding urban population. 'Public focus has changed according to the two surveys.

'The majority have tended to shift the main blame for expensive housing on to the government [from the developer]. In this area, local governments should take the major responsibility.'

According to the report, the poll also revealed that only about a fifth of those surveyed trusted the government to be able to control rocketing housing prices, a huge slide compared with the 58.9 per cent two years ago.

Housing prices in big mainland cities have increased rapidly in the past two years, despite a series of state efforts to curb rises.

Guangzhou's Southern Metropolis News yesterday said home ownership was so far out of reach that even Tianhe district deputy director Ding Jianhua could not afford to buy a house.

Shenzhen resident Zou Tao , who launched a campaign last year calling on mainlanders to delay property purchases for three years, said the government was entirely to blame for the situation.

Mr Zou said the root cause of rocketing housing prices was the government's failure to provide affordable homes to low- and middle-income households.

But Yu Linggang, who also advocates cheaper housing in Beijing, said developers were still the main problem.