Longer waits forecast for public rental homes

Local | Phoenix Un 18 Apr 2019

Public housing supply in the next 10 years will fall short of the government's goal by 85,000 flats, with the average waiting time for public rental housing increasing to six years from the current 5.5 years in three years' time, according to a think tank.

The government's targeted waiting time is three years.

However, Our Hong Kong Foundation, chaired by former chief executive Tung Chee-hwa, offered a even more pessimistic outlook than the government, which puts the public rental housing shortage at 67,000.

The think tank studied the latest annual progress report of the Long Term Housing Strategy Steering Committee issued in December that pointed to a severe shortage of public housing in the next 10 years.

With the government having adjusted the ratio of public to private housing construction ratio from 60:40 to 70:30, the government's public housing target in the next 10 years should be 315,000 flats.

But the steering committee projected only 248,000 public housing flats would be built during the period.

In a report announced yesterday, Our HK Foundation came up with an even lower estimate - that 230,000 flats would be constructed.

The report found the government too optimistic in its projection "as there has been a track record of delays in the public housing projects."

Foundation deputy executive director, Stephen Wong Yuen-shan, made three suggestions to alleviate the shortage: prioritizing and speeding up the rezoning process of 25 designated sites of non-residential use into residential use, developing two Sai Kung sites totaling 64 hectares, and expediting the rezoning process of the 100 hectares of brownfield and 150 hectares of privately-owned agricultural land in the New Territories.

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