(Yicai Global) Dec. 11 -- An article titled 'Beijing Allows SOEs to Build Housing for Staff on Land Allotted to Curb Home Prices' is a misinterpretation of a new policy that encourages state-owned enterprises to develop affordable housing projects on land parcels allotted to them, an official with Beijing's housing commission said.
The policy aims to increase the affordable housing supply, not allow SOEs to gift properties built on their 'self-owned' land to their staff; rather, the properties are for public distribution to eligible households in the city, Beijing Daily reported today.
The commission released the latest statistics on affordable housing properties last week, noting that Beijing's government encourages SOEs to build affordable residential properties on land granted to them, with about 120,000 such units built to date. "The government innovated the method, and has continually increased sources of affordable housing supplies by guiding and encouraging all members of society to participate in public housing projects. Extensive synergies have been achieved in line with the rise in the number of participants," the official noted.
Online media misinterpreted his remarks to mean Beijing would return to an earlier welfare housing model, however, reporting that SOEs could build apartments for their own workers, characterizing this as the onset of a new wave of real estate regulation in the capital.
The commission immediately shot down this misinterpretation, however. SOEs can only build affordable housing properties on self-owned land when all units are distributed to eligible applicants through public registration lotteries, the official stressed.
SOEs' development of affordable housing on self-owned land is no new policy in Beijing. The city government rolled out its 'owner-occupancy' policy in October 2013, and proposed building 20,000 owner-occupied apartments by the end of that year. One month later, the Beijing Planning Exhibition Hall exhibited the first several property development plans of this type. Almost all seven projects lay on land parcels previously granted to SOEs in Chaoyang, Fengtai, Changping and Haidian districts, the report noted.
All parcels were subject to public tender, auction, and listing, with the apartments offered to eligible affordable housing applicants, regardless of employer, via open application and lottery, rather than being reserved for the SOEs' employees.