Commentary RESEARCH

Affordable housing for newcomers to cities


2021-09-03 08:58

China Daily
China Daily

Many young people are moving to bigger cities in search of better lives. But they often face a big hurdle: sky-high housing prices and rental costs.

Speaking at a news conference on Tuesday, Vice-Minister of Housing and Urban-Rural Development Ni Hong vowed to solve the housing problem faced by newcomers to big cities, young people in particular, something that is a global phenomenon in all big- and medium-sized cities.

Compared with long-time residents, those who have newly migrated to the cities, mostly young people, often lack the funds needed to buy an apartment and thus have to rent one initially. The high housing rentals mean many young people have to shell out a major part of their income or take a loan to buy a house.

To reduce the burden on first-time buyers, local governments must build more affordable housing. Since local governments usually focus on building commercial housing that fetch good prices, the higher authorities need to step in to encourage the local governments to build more affordable housing by, for example, making it a part of their performance evaluation.

Indeed, some city governments have built houses for rental, but those have found few takers because most of them fail to meet the demands of young people, who want smaller apartments nearer to their workplace. Most city governments tend to build affordable housing far away from the central business district where most people work. Also, these are usually big apartments and, therefore, expensive.

Collecting detailed information about young people's needs is crucial before building such apartments.

In fact, information collection, building construction and apartment management can be outsourced to enterprises to get more professional results, while the government can monitor the entire process to ensure fairness.

Having a home in a city is the dream of many. It is time the local governments ensured everybody can at least rent a house, if not buy one.



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