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Govt gives reassurances on land, housing supply

2022-10-20 HKT 18:28
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  • Govt gives reassurances on land, housing supply
The government on Thursday expressed confidence that it could provide more than enough homes for Hongkongers.

Announcing the administration's estimate on developable land supply for the first time, Financial Secretary Paul Chan said in the 10 years from 2023-24, there will be 3,280 hectares of spade-ready sites, which he noted is equivalent to the size of two Tseung Kwan O districts.

He said the land can provide some 493,000 housing units, at least 60,000 more than the demand for homes in a 10-year period.

The government said land supply in the coming decade will come from new development areas, including the Tung Chung New Town Extension and the Northern Metropolis, and the Kau Yi Chau Artificial Islands project and the development of Tseung Kwan O Area 137 are expected to provide spade-ready sites in the medium to long term.

Chan also said there is no need to make changes to existing property-cooling measures that first started more than a decade ago.

He said the government must consider several factors, such as changes in property prices and market sentiment.

"People are exercising caution, but then we don't see any panic selling yet," he said.

"Now interest rates have gone up quite a bit, so there's a heavier burden for people paying mortgages. Right now, the mortgage rate is about two, three percent, but then back in 1997, 1998, it was some eight, nine percent. Again, the situation is not quite the same."

On the light public housing scheme, Deputy Financial Secretary Michael Wong said the administration came up with the idea as it could not further boost the supply for public housing for the coming five years.

"Currently for us to construct convention public housing, it takes almost up to 60 months. In other words, if we continue to make use of conventional public housing as the only solution, then actually we would not be able to increase the supply for the coming five years," he said.

"Light public housing is something that we can finish the construction within a period of 12, 18 or 24 months."

Wong also revealed that the government has identified around five to six sites for the scheme – mainly in the New Territories – to build the 30,000 flats, and the rent will be 10 percent lower than that of traditional public housing in the same district.

He also said authorities have no intention of using quarantine facilities at Kai Tak and Penny's Bay for the scheme.

Govt gives reassurances on land, housing supply