Frenzy of interest in subsidized homes project

Updated: 2013-12-10 00:52

By Jin Haixing (China Daily)

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Frenzy of interest in subsidized homes project

Potential buyers inspect plans showing a new type of government-subsidized small housing unit in Beijing in November. ZHAO BING / FOR CHINA DAILY

More than 100,000 Beijing residents — and rising — are trying to get their hands on a government-subsidized, affordable housing unit from the capital's first owner-occupier commercial property project.

The developer, Evergrande Group's Beijing branch, did not disclose the exact number of applicants for the housing but acknowledged attracting a huge number in the first three days of the 15-day application period, which started at the end of November.

From Nov 30 to Dec 2, the registration website for the project received more than 100,000 applications, according to an insider close to Evergrande. The project has been deluged with inquiries every day, the source said.

Nearly 80,000 applicants will be eligible to buy a house, but only 2,000 units are available, so a lottery system will be used to select buyers, the developer said.

According to a statement released in October by the housing administration authority, the project was aimed at providing smaller homes for people in the lower-middle income group. To qualify for the subsidy, a house must cost 30 percent less than the market price in the same area.

Owners are not allowed to sell the property within five years of purchase, the statement said. If a property is sold after five years, the seller must pay 30 percent of any increase to the local finance authority.

The project is located in Dougezhuang township in Chaoyang district, with an average price of 22,000 yuan ($3,600) per square meter.

Priority will be given to those on Beijing's affordable-housing and low-income housing waiting lists, as well as to single people who are over 25 years old and without a house in Beijing, the authorities said.

By the end of 2014, the government plans to provide 70,000 such houses, authorities said.

An architectural engineer surnamed Chen submitted his application on Dec 1.

"As a house purchaser, I hope that the government will make sure that the lottery is conducted fairly and openly," Chen, 26, said. He hoped the government will provide more such projects for residents.

But he also expressed his concern that the project could give rise to speculation because prices in Beijing's housing market seem to be rising.

Hu Yuanyuan contributed to this story.