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China disperses $10 bln of public housing funds
BEIJING May 24 (Reuters) - China's Ministry of Finance said on Thursday it had given 66 billion yuan ($10.5 billion) to local governments to help build public housing for rent, one of five categories of state-subsidised affordable housing.
The money, which the ministry said had been dispersed recently, will build public-rent housing, the second-lowest tier of homes in its affordable housing programme.
It follows earlier announcements by the ministry that 21.2 billion yuan had been given to rebuild shanty towns and another 10.5 billion yuan had been given for construction of low-rent homes, the bottom tier of social housing.
Government spending on affordable homes is expected to cushion the impact of slowing private sector real estate investment to the overall economy.
Annual growth in China's overall real estate investment rose 18.7 percent in the first four months, down from an increase of 23.5 percent in the January-March period, fuelling fears about a worse-than-expected slowdown in the world's second-largest economy.
The Ministry of Finance said in its 2012 budget published in March that it planned to spend 171.3 billion yuan on the construction of affordable homes, up 25 percent from last year's actual expenditure, but less than 10 percent of the total expenditure needed for this year's public housing scheme.
Local governments, banks, developers and private firms are expected to fund the balance.
($1 = 6.3345 Chinese yuan) (Reporting by Langi Chiang and Nick Edwards; Editing by Eric Meijer)
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