200,000 residential units to be built or converted into rentals in 2018
Shanghai will enhance its effort to foster the residential leasing market this year by accelerating real estate development as well as offering support for professional home leasing companies and institutions, said Shanghai Mayor Ying Yong during the ongoing annual session of the city's People's Congress.
The effort is aimed to quell speculation in the housing market and make the city attractive to young talent, who have become the city's "primary resources"－as Ying put itin building itself into a global city of excellence.
Ying said the city plans to build or convert 200,000 housing units into rentals in 2018 and add another 90,000 housing units managed by professional house rental agencies.
The city's first professional rental housing brand, Wonder, owned by State-owned Shanghai Land Group, was released on Saturday. It plans to build 20,000 rental houses by 2020 with a total construction area of 1 million square meters. Its first rental housing community in Minhang district started construction this month.
According to the city's five-year plan from 2016 to 2020, a total of 700,000 rental units are planned to be added in the city, surpassing the 450,000 new commercial housing units.
As Shanghai strives to build itself into a global innovation center of science and technology－a task proposed in its master plan for 2035－the city's skyrocketing property market, however, has become a deterrent to talent.
Yin Oujie, deputy to Jing'an district and vice-president of Shanghai Oriental Investment Supervision Co, said she felt it was hard to secure young talent in recent years.
"It's become harder for us to hire good fresh graduates from key universities whose homes are in other provinces as they don't see the chance of buying an apartment in Shanghai," Yin said.
In addressing the congress, the mayor said: "Talent is our primary resource that plays a decisive role in global cooperation and competition among cities."
The mayor pledged to stick to current tightening policies to quell speculation, and vowed to accelerate the pace of establishing a housing system that will ensure supply from multiple sources, provide housing support through multiple channels and encourage both house purchases and rentals.
"Houses are built for living in, not for speculation," Ying said, quoting President Xi Jinping's comment on the country's housing market.
Tang Xiaoling, deputy general manager of Shanghai Land Group and deputy to Fengxian district, said, "The rental housing community aims to provide homes for young professionals who come to the city and will be paired with commercial zones and business incubators. Their locations will be close to transportation hubs."
Different from subsidized public rental housing, there will be no requirements for tenants' income but preference will be given to people working in universities and high-tech zones, she said.
"We will likely build a rental platform with universities and high-tech parks and set aside a portion of the rental houses for them," Tang said, adding that the plan is still in its early stages.
Besides building new rental communities, existing homes from small landlords and idle space held by government-affiliated institutions and State-owned companies is the other source for rental housing.
"Some idle factories or small shabby hotels will be renovated and turned into rental housing under unified management," said Ru Guoming, director of the Xuhui district housing authority, also the district deputy to the congress. "It can thus better utilize idle resources and clear potential safety hazards."
Ru also said the rental price will be largely market-driven, but rental policies will be tilted to employees in companies with great demand for talent.