Hong Kong needs new land for more homes: CE
Leung dismisses opposition lawmaker’s claim there were plenty of vacant flats across the city
" The supply obviously cannot fulfill the needs of the people and thus there is a pressing need for the government to exploit land for developments as soon as possible.”
LEUNG CHUN-YING CHIEF EXECUTIVE, WROTE ON HIS OFFICIAL BLOG OF THE HOUSING AND LAND SUPPLY ISSUE
Statistics clearly prove the pressing need to turn villages into towns to meet the city’s high demand for new homes, Chief Executive Leung Chun- ying wrote on his offi cial blog, as he dismissed claims that there are plenty of vacant apartments in town.
The article, titled “let the numbers tell the truth”, was published on Leung’s official blog on Friday.
Opponents of the North East New Territories ( NENT) development plan have long argued that there are still a large number of vacant apartments or plots in the city to meet home buyers’ demand.
Legislator Gary Fan Kwok- wai, for instance, said there were 150,000 vacant flats across the city last month. He and others in the opposition camp have advocated bulldozing a golf course to build homes instead.
Leung, citing a letter provided by Fan last month, revealed the lawmaker’s source was Next Magazine, which counted homes for the elderly, hospital beds, boarding school and even prisons as “vacant homes”.
“Obviously this data should not be used to assess vacancy of residential units,” Leung wrote.
Rating and Valuation Department reports, Leung pointed out, showed there were only 48,000 vacant private residential flats at the end of last year, the lowest number in a decade. Th ere were also only 3,689 public rental flats available to let.
“The supply obviously cannot fulfill the needs of the people and thus there is a pressing need for the government to exploit land for developments as soon as possible,” Leung wrote, urging Fan to support proposals to boost land supply.
Apart from the NENT plan, which will see its first apartment completed in 2022, the government also advanced public consultation for a planned new town at Hung Shui Kiu last month. An internal study is currently identifying potential sites for more new towns in the Northern New Territories.
Several demand suppressing measures are also in place to stabilize home prices. A Hong Kong Monetary Authority ( HKMA) spokesperson said there was a plan to end the stricter mortgage tests as the market has shown no sign of decline, despite sluggish trading in the real estate market.
Th e regulator’s assurance echoed pledges made earlier by the Chief Executive. Leung said on Monday that while a boost in supply is the fundamental cure of the demand shortfall, the measures are an effective control of risk if the bubble bursts.
The series of inflated stamp duties were gazetted in a “negative vetting procedure” to allow the new tax regime to come into force before the Legislative Council reads them in October. Real estate agents have recently staged campaigns to scrap the measures.