Annual deposit grew 13.1 percent year on year to 1.9 trillion yuan in 2017, marking a five-year straight double-digit growth, according to a report released by the Ministry of Housing and Urban-rural Development, the Ministry of Finance and the People's Bank of China.
By the end of 2017, the fund's total balance was 5.2 trillion yuan, up 13.1 percent year on year, and the number of employers and employees contributing to the fund grew by 10.1 percent and 5.2 percent year on year, respectively.
The housing provident fund is a long-term housing savings plan made up of compulsory monthly deposits by both employers and employees. It can only be used by employees on house-related expenses and, if unused, is returned to them when they retire or stop working.
It has effectively reduced housing cost for employees, helping them save 194 billion yuan as the housing provident fund loans offer lower interest rates than commercial loans, according to the report.
According to a recent survey by the China Youth Daily, the main uses of housing provident fund are for home loans, downpayments, rent and renovations, with 67.4 percent of 2,025 respondents opting for using the fund for home loans.