Rich and poor resent developers' influence
The next chief executive should provide more subsidised housing for people from the grass roots and stop favouring property developers. That is the consensus shared by six people - from the well-off to low-income families typical of the city - who joined a Post forum.
The city's sky-high property prices are worrying to all of them, including Peak resident William Louey Lai-keun, grandson of Kowloon Motor Bus founder Louey Sui-tak.
'For people like me who already own property, it is good news to see property prices go up,' he said. 'But I need to worry about the future for my son and daughter.'
The six residents, who were invited by the South China Morning Post to state their views on how the next administration should steer housing policy and to comment on the candidates' platforms, criticise front runners Henry Tang Ying-yen and Leung Chun-ying for failing to provide detailed policy platforms while vowing to solve the problems of rocketing prices and a shortage of affordable housing. The six participants' living conditions range from a 50 sq ft subdivided flat in Sham Shui Po and a public rental home in Tseung Kwan O to a house on The Peak.
Tang has proposed an extra 40,000 subsidised flats be built over the next five years on top of the existing plan for 75,000 flats. Leung wants to speed up construction of public rental flats and provide more subsidised homes for the middle-class.
David Chu Kam-chuen, a public housing tenant in Ma On Shan, worried that Leung might say one thing but do something else if elected.
'I don't know if he'd be willing to step on powerful people's toes a bit to do the right thing,' he said
Most respondents say the future leader should avoid favouring developers. Housing problems cannot be solved without changes in politics, say Raymond Chan, a retiree living in a Home Ownership Scheme flat. 'I know a drastic overhaul of our land policy will never happen because both [candidates] need developers to vote for them to win in this small-circle election,' he said.
However, engineer Jason Poon Chuk-hung, whose three flats, including his West Kowloon home, have been in negative equity since the 1998 financial crisis, said it was not good to flood the market with land for sale and new subsidised homes.
The median price of a Hong Kong home as a multiple of median annual gross household income