• Sun
  • Dec 21, 2014
  • Updated: 6:00pm
Leung Chun-ying
NewsHong Kong

C.Y. Leung faces a long wait before his property measures take effect

As the government works on a long-term housing strategy, observers warn that the market is likely to get even more heated

PUBLISHED : Monday, 08 October, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 08 October, 2012, 10:48am


  • Yes: 78%
  • No: 22%
8 Oct 2012
  • Yes
  • No
Total number of votes recorded: 527

Property prices will remain high and may even continue to rise until the new administration's housing measures begin to kick in, industry watchers say.

Prices have soared throughout Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying's first 100 days in office, breaking records despite a dozen measures to tackle the problem, and the setting up of a steering committee to devise a long-term housing strategy.

To existing homeowners, his policy is about right. To the twenty-somethings that cannot afford to buy or rent their own home, it's a failure

The committee meets for the first time this Friday. Last Friday, the Centa-City Index, which tracks changes in home prices in the secondary market, hit a record 110.14.

Prices of second-hand Home Ownership Scheme flats also rocketed after Leung announced in July a policy to allow 5,000 families to buy them at a discount next year.

In an interview with the Post last week, Leung said the overheated market was partly a result of the euro debt problem and also a result of "many years of un-production". "I'd be dishonest if I told Hong Kong the government had a quick fix," Leung said. "If we didn't do what we did in the last three months, the situation would be far worse."

Lawrence Poon Wing-cheung, a spokesman for the Institute of Surveyors' housing taskforce, said Leung's focus on raising land and housing supply was well placed, although some may have expected him to take more drastic measures.

"To existing homeowners, his policy is about right. To the twenty-somethings that cannot afford to buy or rent their own home, it's a failure," Poon said.

Poon said he expected that, the market would remain vulnerable in the coming few months until measures start to take effect in the next couple of years.

These will include the presale of 1,830 flats under two subsidised housing schemes for the middle-class; the sale of two sites in Kai Tak under the locals-only scheme; and the release of 9,000 new flats in the private sector.

The government has drawn up possible measures to dampen the market if it becomes heated up even more by external factors. Options being considered are believed to include a heavier special stamp duty, a special tax on foreigners' additional home ownership, a higher property tax rate, and a new value-added tax on earnings from property resales.

There are also other short-term measures the government could take to help stabilise the market, said Michael Choi Ngai-min, another committee member. The presale of the 5,000 new Home Ownership Scheme flats, which will be completed by 2016, could be started next year instead of waiting till 2014. Choi said.

Poon urged the Long-Term Housing Strategy Committee to think of solutions such as public rental housing for the lower middle class with a rent higher than existing levels.


More on this story

Housing is Leung's battle to fight
8 Oct 2012 - 12:00am

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This article is now closed to comments

Most mainlanders are using Hong Kong or offshore companies to buy their properties. So if the Government wants to curb their property speculation, it should enact a disclosure law requiring the real owners of a company and its assets to be publicly revealed.
Reintroduce legal protection of occupation for tenants, limit rent increases to the rate of inflation, make the stamp duty applicable to companies which own properties, kick the property tycoons and their creatures out of EXCO, intercept the huge amounts of cash being smuggled from the mainland and prosecute the money launderers. All this would be a good start.
Taxing foreign buyers would be discriminatory under the Race Discrimination Ordinance and would not solve the problem.
Something seems to be wrong with the pricing in a market where an operator can offer 500 000 000 HKD (= 10 000 years of work at minimum wage) to find a groom for his daughter.
We should just limit all property to Hong Kong residents. Say normal residents 1 propety, Permanent Residents 2 or 3, no property for companies.
We need more drastic methods, say copycat Mainland measures such as no more than a certain (maybe 1) quantity of owned property for mainland people? After all, there is a high proportion of those limited in their location who comes here.


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