Housing Secretary Winnie Ho on Monday denied that light public housing units will be costly to build, saying the average cost of putting up such flats will be around the same as that of a traditional public rental housing or transitional housing.
Her comments came after concerns had been raised that light public housing flats would cost HK$893,000 to build on average, as the government estimated a total cost of HK$26.8 billion for the design and construction of 30,000 such units in the next five years.
But Ho told a Legco panel meeting that the cost of light public housing could not be calculated by using simple division.
She said light public flats in low-storey blocks will have a price tag of about HK$550,000 - similar to that of transitional housing - while building light public units in a high-rise building will cost around HK$680,000, about the same as traditional public rental units.
The government has proposed constructing 16- to 18-storey light public housing blocks on two Tuen Mun sites and lower structures in Yuen Long and Sheung Shui. The four sites will yield 10,000 flats in total.
Lawmakers, including the DAB's Vincent Cheng, asked if there were ways to save costs, saying light public flats are only intended for use for around five years.
In response, Ho said the government is aiming to build the units quickly and on a limited scale, affecting the cost-efficiency of such housing.
But the housing minister stressed that the flats - to be built with the modular method - may be reused after the sites are taken back for long-term development use.
"Now we are adopting the modular integrated construction approach, so we are asking the [Architectural Services Department] to look into the possibility of reusing these modules for other purposes in the future," she said.
Legislators also urged the official to provide more information on the remaining 20,000 light public housing units, as the authorities are seeking Legco's approval for a lump-sum payment of HK$32 billion for all the projects.
Ho said the government is looking at a few other areas, including "nice locations" in Kowloon and on Hong Kong island, adding that she hoped to announce the sites of other light public flats in January.