To the point,

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - FRONT PAGE - YANG SHENG The author is a cur­rent af­fairs com­men­ta­tor.

The Le­ung Chun-ying ad­min­is­tra­tion’s all-out ef­fort to build up Hong Kong’s land re­serve, in­clud­ing de­vel­op­ing the North East New Ter­ri­to­ries re­gion, is the only way out of the city’s hous­ing cri­sis and a fun­da­men­tal so­lu­tion to some of its deep-seated so­cial prob­lems.

That Hong Kong is faced with a se­vere hous­ing short­age is unar­guable, given the fact that the city is among the most ex­pen­sive places to buy real es­tate, and has the low­est per-capita liv­ing space among ma­jor cities in the world.

The city’s sky-rock­et­ing home prices, fu­eled by am­ple liq­uid­ity and sup­ported by tight sup­ply, are now be­yond the reach of aver­age fam­i­lies, de­priv­ing many of the chance to own a home.

Home own­er­ship, or the lack of it, has not only con­trib­uted to the wealth gap in the city but also deeply di­vided the so­ci­ety. The widen­ing wealth gap has be­come a ma­jor source of so­cial dis­con­tent and a breed­ing ground for po­lit­i­cal bick­er­ing, the two pests that are now plagu­ing Hong Kong so­ci­ety.

And high real es­tate costs, partly re­sult­ing from land scarcity, have stran­gled many eco­nomic ac­tiv­i­ties and shut­tered many tra­di­tional, small busi­nesses, lead­ing to job losses.

By plac­ing land and hous­ing sup­ply on the top of its pol­icy agenda, the Le­ung ad­min­is­tra­tion has demon­strated its de­ter­mi­na­tion to atone for the pol­icy de­fi­cien­cies of the pre­vi­ous ad­min­is­tra­tions, and to tackle the mar­ket fail­ure.

While the moves to boost land and hous­ing sup­ply as well as mea­sures to curb spec­u­la­tive de­mand for properties are in the best in­ter­ests of the whole so­ci­ety, un­der­stand­ably they have at­tracted strong ob­jec­tion from vested in­ter­ests, in­clud­ing some prop­erty de­vel­op­ers, in­vestors and spec­u­la­tors. Th­ese vested in­ter­ests must re­al­ize any im­bal­ance is un­sus­tain­able and will be rec­ti­fied sooner or later.

As for some mem­bers of the op­po­si­tion camp — who have politi­cized ev­ery­thing in pur­suit of their agenda — such as Gary Fan Kwok­wai of the Neo Democrats, who has cited ridicu­lous and mis­lead­ing data to op­pose the ad­min­is­tra­tion’s ef­forts to build up a land bank, they owe vot­ers an ex­pla­na­tion.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from China

© PressReader. All rights reserved.