China Subsidises Public Rental Housing to Increase Population
Beijing is giving priority to the allocation of public rental housing by providing subsidies to families with two or more children which is the first of its kind. According to Weibo, the Chinese microblogging site, it’s understood that cost of raising three children can be enough to buy a house in China.
The central authorities unveiled a policy document aimed at reducing childrearing and education costs and building a “fertility-friendly society” as a follow-up move to the policy decision of allowing all couples to have three children. Less than six years ago, in October 2015, On the other hand, China relaxed its more than three-decade-old stringent family planning policy, allowing all couples to have two children. This swift change in the family planning policy should be seen against the backdrop of China’s rapidly ageing population and low birth rate
Many experts say China’s socio-economic environment, especially in urban areas, doesn’t encourage couples to have even two, let alone three, children. In particular, high housing prices and the instability of the rental housing sector are detrimental to young couples’ plans to have children or even marry.
Thus, to create a “fertility-friendly environment” for couples, building a “fertility-friendly” housing sector is a prerequisite, as per Weibo trending searches. According to Weibo, houses used to be allocated for free and as non-tradable welfare goods to urban residents in China during the planned economy era, from 1949 to 1977.
But severe housing shortage and deteriorating housing conditions under the welfare housing system prompted the government to gradually commercialize the housing sector from the 1980s.
So to build a “fertility-friendly society”, the authorities first need to allocate housing on the basis of people’s needs, not on the demand of capital. The initiative to develop subsidized housing comes as Beijing observes the centenary of the Chinese Communist Party’s formation.