Housing policies introduced in China in 1998 aim to end the distribution of housing by employers and set up new housing finance and market systems. The author examines policy development and practice in Beijing and evaluates the performance of the new housing finance mechanisms. Although the 1998 policies were a major step forward, the system created is very different from that in a market economy. Employers still have a major role to play in housing, although they will not be directly involved in construction and distribution. The new housing finance system shows some distinctive features as well.