Sina
Edition: CHINA ASIA USA EUROPE AFRICA
Home > HK
Wednesday, July 13, 2016, 21:18

Think tank urges multi-pronged strategy to lift land supply

By Oswald Chan
Think tank urges multi-pronged strategy to lift land supply
A view of residential buildings in Tung Chung, Hong Kong. The government is urged to adopt a multi-pronged approach to increase land supply to ensure it’ll be adequate to meet strong housing demand over the next five years. ( Billy H.C. Kwok / Bloomberg)

The Hong Kong government should adopt a multi-pronged approach to increase land supply to ensure it’ll be adequate to meet strong housing demand over the next five years, says Our Hong Kong Foundation (OHKF) — the local think tank founded by Tung Chee-hwa, former chief executive and now vice-chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference.

The foundation expects an average of 18,000 new private residential units to be completed annually between 2016 and 2019, representing a 60-percent increase over the period from 2006 to 2015 and also the same target projected under the Long Term Housing Strategy (LTHS) unveiled by the Transport and Housing Bureau late last year.

However, the supply of new public housing flats is trailing behind, with OHKF projecting just 20,000 public-rental housing units and subsidized apartments to be completed between 2016 and 2020 annually — 30 percent short of the target stipulated in the LTHS.

The government has stipulated that the total housing supply target for the coming 10 years will be 460,000 units, of which 40 percent will be private housing and the other 60 percent public-rental housing and subsidized flats. This translates into an annual private residential flat supply target of 18,000 units and an annual public rental housing and subsidized flat supply target of around 28,000 units for the next decade.

"Although the government can come up with the targeted new private residential flats in the next three years, there’s immense and substantial demand for housing that has yet to be met,” OHKF Deputy Executive Director and Head of Public Policy Stephen Wong Yuen-shan said on Wednesday.

"Land supply in the medium-term five-year period is still uncertain as to whether it can meet the demographic-driven housing demand in recent years which is higher than in the 1980s and 1990s,” he said.

OHKF published its first research report on land and housing in November last year, predicting that Hong Kong would need to develop more than 9,000 hectares of land in the next three decades.

"This underscores the importance of setting up a land reserve to provide more land needed for future development. The surplus in land supply will then become a reserve and should be utilized to monitor fluctuating supply and demand dynamics in the property market,” Wong reckoned.

William Tsang Wai-him, senior researcher at OHKF, said the government should strive to enhance land supply through all available sources, such as reclamation, new town development and brownfield sites.

However, the foundation does not support the concept of “brownfield first” as this particular source of land supply will involve problems like land resumption, relocation, resettlement and compensation, which could be very time consuming, he said.

oswald@chinadailyhk.com

Latest News