National leaders want to curb luxury projects and boost low-cost housing National leaders have raised the alarm about overheating in the property market, calling for a more healthy pace of development in the sector to keep the economy moving, and to create jobs. Industry officials said the appeals, made in the state media, were in line with a push by the central government over the past six months to cool the luxury market while encouraging the construction of more low-cost housing. Addressing a meeting in Beijing, Vice-Premier Zeng Peiyan said: 'In some localities, symptoms of overheating have emerged in property investment. We must continue the contribution [of a healthy property market] to the current good momentum in economic growth.' Property investment has risen by nearly 20 per cent a year from 1998 to last year, and surged 34 per cent in the first half of this year, Xinhua quoted the State Statistical Bureau as saying, but gave no figures. Mr Zeng referred to problems in the property sector, including poor control over the market. His comments follow a land scandal in Shanghai which surfaced in May, in which officials made backroom deals with developers. Shanghai residents sued, and lost, in cases brought against one district. They alleged officials colluded with developer Chau Ching-ngai to transfer land without providing adequate compensation to people who were evicted to make way for the project. Mr Zeng said relocation and compensation must be administered according to the law, and added the government would seek to protect social stability. The authorities have warned of crackdowns against public protests. Residents in Shanghai and Beijing have staged protests against various property projects since May. Mr Zeng said the central government wanted the market to continue growing, generating development that would spur consumption, create jobs and boost the economy. The property industry employs 5 million people in management jobs and another 30 million construction workers, according to the State Statistical Bureau. The central government would seek to control development in the luxury end of the market, including large residential projects and high-grade office buildings, while encouraging construction of low-cost housing, Mr Zeng said. Speaking at the same meeting, Minister of Construction Wang Guangtao said the government would control the supply of land, halt approvals and institute stricter sales requirements for luxury housing. Joseph Zimny, director of the consultancy New Choice Mortgage Services, said: 'This is consistent with what the People's Bank of China has done in the past six months. The striking theme is that they want a healthy market moving forward.' The People's Bank of China, the central bank, has ordered tighter credit for lending to the property sector, though not for first-time home buyers. In 1998, the nation began to move away from state-allocated housing. Residents in many cities complain that not enough investment is going into affordable housing for low-income earners.