BEIJING plans to build more houses in the next three years in line with the city's policy of achieving better living conditions for its 10 million residents by 1997, according to a report by Xinhua (the New China News Agency). City government officials say about 247.5 million sq ft of housing will be completed by 1997. The city's construction blueprint also covers the annual restoration of 10.76 million sq ft of dilapidated housing in a bid to eliminate unsightly residential accommodation by 2000. At present, about 56,000 of the city's families live in an average space of less than 43 sq ft. About 32.29 million sq ft of housing will be needed to accommodate them. By the end of September, more than 120 new residential blocks involving more than 107.64 million sq ft were under construction. About 2.17 billion yuan (about HK$1.96 billion) has already been spent on rebuilding 40.9 million sq ft of dilapidated units in 66 ageing blocks in the city. In line with the government's strategy, more mainland developers are building low-cost housing for Beijing residents. One mainland developer promoted sales of units at one of its projects at the recent Second China Beijing Real Estate Fair, telling prospective buyers that 30,000 yuan would secure ownership of a flat. The developer was selling second phase units at its City Romance project. Buyers were required to pay 30,000 yuan as a down-payment and bank mortgages were available. Sales response appeared to be strong at the fair which attracted more than 120 real estate companies involved in about 200 property projects in Beijing and other cities. In addition to major projects undertaken by overseas property giants such as Sun Hung Kai Properties, Henderson Land Development and Wharf (Holdings), a number of smaller-scale developments by mainlanders were on offer or display.