More housing in the pipeline

October 6, 2021

(To watch the 2021 Policy Address speech with sign language interpretation, click here.)


The Government's ongoing efforts in identifying land for housing has begun to bear fruit.


The administration has earmarked about 350 hectares of land to produce about 330,000 public housing units for the upcoming 10-year period, therefore being able to meet the estimated public housing demand of around 301,000 units in the period.


Delivering her Policy Address, Chief Executive Carrie Lam said although the long waiting time for public rental housing is worrying, public housing production in the five‑year tenure of the current‑term Government will reach 96,500 units, an increase of 30,000 units compared to the previous five‑year period.


She has asked the Secretary for Transport & Housing to make every endeavor to press the Housing Authority to deliver more units as early as possible.


On private housing including railway property developments, the Government is striving to secure around 170 hectares of land in the next decade.


It plans to make available to the market sites for the production of about 100,000 units through land sales or putting up railway property developments for tender.


Mrs Lam said: "With the Government's determination to further streamline the land development process, we are confident that there will be a steady supply of land for private housing development."


She has also asked the Housing Authority to look into old estates such as Sai Wan Estate and Ma Tau Wai Estate to explore their redevelopment and see if more public housing units could be provided.


As for transitional housing, she proposed to boost the overall supply to 20,000 units in the next few years by providing 5,000 additional units.


She also pledged to increase the amount of funding under the relevant funding scheme to $11.6 billion.


In addition, the Government has disbursed cash allowances to about 30,000 eligible public rental housing applicant households as of the end of August.


Subject to passage by the Legislative Council, the ordinance to implement tenancy control on subdivided units will take effect in January, protecting tenants.


Boosting land supply

To ensure a sustainable land supply beyond the next 10 years, Mrs Lam said the Government is pressing ahead with studying reclamation works for the Kau Yi Chau Artificial Islands and the various development areas in the New Territories North.


It plans to seek funds from lawmakers in the first half of next year to kick start planning and engineering studies on land development.


The Chief Executive pointed out that ongoing large-scale projects and those in the pipeline are expected to provide about 400,000 to 500,000 public and private housing units in the medium to long-term.


Coupled with the 165,000 to 186,000 units that can be built on the newly identified Northern Metropolis Development Strategy, the housing supply can go up to 565,000 to 686,000 units in the 10 to 15 years after 2031-32, she added.


Final projections suggest that from 2019 to 2048, Hong Kong will have a shortfall of around 3,000 hectares of land.


But the Chief Executive said through various initiatives, the Government is confident it can meet the shortfall in the medium to long-term.


These include reviewing the green belt zone and land in the New Territories as well as the use of Tso/Tong land.


The Government will also extend to the land of the New Territories the use of standard rates for premium assessment. The implementation of two existing measures for revitalising industrial buildings will be lengthened to October 2024.


To move with the times, Mrs Lam said the Government will review the existing statutory procedures and administrative arrangements on town planning, environmental impact assessment, land resumption and road works, aiming to seek views from lawmakers and stakeholders in the first half of next year.

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