To the point,
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.