China to Loosen Family Planning Controls

The Chinese government has expressed its intention to loosen family planning controls, which may have a number of effects on the real estate market in coming years.

China is one of the most populated countries in the world at 1.34 billion people, which is why the government put family planning restrictions in place over three decades ago.

Since the family planning restrictions were enforced, the government estimated it has prevented approximately 400 million additions to the population.

However, a key reform program from the Communist Party of China proposes to allow couples to have a second child if one of the parents is an only child.

Effects of reforms

These reforms could result in a baby boom of sorts, which could create a higher demand for property in the future.

This change to the policy "promotes happiness" according to Yang Wenzhuang, a director of the family planning instruction department at the National Health and Family Planning Commission of the People's Republic of China. 

But one concern expressed by many is that relaxing population controls could lead to another surge.
However, Mr Wenzhuang said the number of couples eligible to have a second child is "not very large".

After these changes have been enforced, Mr Wenzhuang said the National Health and Family Planning Commission expects an annual rise of approximately 2 million newborns.

He said this "will not cause big pressure on health care, education and other public resources".

Demographer Zhai Zhenwu said there is an estimated 15 million to 20 million couples who could be eligible to have another child.

Restrictions loosened, but still in effect

Even though many couples will be allowed to have more than one child, there will still be restrictions in place in order to control rapid population growth.

National Health and Planning Commission spokesman Mao Qun'an told reporters at a press conference the government has an aim to maintain a low fertility rate.

"Family planning work, not just in the past, but even now with the adjustment of the policy, family planning is a national policy for China," he said.

"The control of population and keeping a low fertility rate is a long-term mission."