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This year 40 million square meters and next year 45 million square meters of residential floorspace will be built
This year 40 million square meters and next year 45 million square meters of residential floorspace will be built, Industry and Energy Minister Victor Khristenko said Wednesday at a meeting with President Vladimir Putin. A lower rate of construction was registered in the first six months of 2004. "Despite the 4% increment, it is a slump from last year," Mr. Khristenko said. He said that he hoped things could be improved with the new package of housing laws, which will come into force on January 1, 2005. "Indeed, there are some negative trends because of pricing," he said. "Although the growth of prices subsided and is not as high as last year, on the secondary housing market prices are nearing prices on the primary [new houses]. It is an indication of declining supply. "This is mostly because of possible supply limitations, certain limitations put on the banking and other sectors which affect this sensitive market." He said that in some regions, prices on the primary and secondary housing markets were the same. "We regard the adoption of the entire package [of housing bills] as a goal and a method to resolve all problems that exist on the housing market," Mr. Khristenko said. "Hopefully, the entire package of laws will become effective on January 1." The minister noted that on Sunday, Building Workers' Day, the presidential congratulations were very much to the point. He explained that on that day the Federation Council approved eight bills from the housing package. He said that these laws were directly related to the 2005 budget and the provision of preferential terms for builders, "the removal of some additional costs in the drawing up of mortgage contracts ... It is an important part of the package. "Another nine bills are floating. They have passed second reading in the lower chamber of parliament and will be considered in third reading in the fall and another nine billsare getting ready for their second reading." Those bills include housing and city building codes. "They are being amended and improved," he added. "The adoption of even the first eight bills is very important because the housing market is a very sensitive area," Mr. Khristenko stressed. President Putin asked what region led in terms of volume of housing construction. "Moscow, of course," Mr. Khristenko said. The president asked: "And in per capita terms?" He said that megalopolises were not the most per capita but, the Chuvash republic and the Astrakhan region. "Moscow is first in volume of construction but, unfortunately, the tenth in prices and per capita [volume of construction]."
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