This chapter discusses housing practices and their related problems before China's economic reforms. It also describes the process and constraints of the privatisation of public housing in urban areas, and the initiatives taken by central government to regulate the property market and meet the housing needs of different social groups. Additionally, the development of rural housing and the needs of land-losing farmers are presented. The impact of housing reforms on the well-being of citizens is then considered. Housing development in China has focused on marketisation and localisation. Housing inequality in China was partly caused by the operation of a free housing market, and partly by the domination of work units in the subsidised housing market. Generally, housing reform in China over the past two-and-a-half decades has widened the housing gap between the rich and poor and between migrant workers and local residents.
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