An official (left) addresses rural residents' queries on house purchases in Heze, Shandong province. [Photo/Xinhua]
To maintain stability in the real estate market, the country has emphasized for the past five years that housing is for living in, not speculation. It has also encouraged the development of rental housing to keep up with the nation's economic development and the improvement of livelihoods.
"We are entering a new era where equal importance will be attached to privately owned homes and rented apartments," said Sheng Xiuxiu, residential sector research director at JLL China.
There is an urgent need for a more regulated renting system, especially in mega cities where huge populations, rising home prices and an insufficient supply of homes for leasing mean there is huge market potential, she said.
"With supportive measures and associated policies from government, the emerging rental housing market may see accelerated development in the future," Sheng said.
Li Shuqi has been part of that trend. When she wanted to live by herself but was worried about the mortgage pressure she would face if she bought an apartment, Li leased a 40-sq-m flat near her parents in 2014.
"At a much lower cost than buying a home, I can enjoy the same freedom of living by myself in the cozy rented flat," she said.