Hong Kong housing

Public flats may be built on private homes land

PUBLISHED : Monday, 12 November, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 22 September, 2015, 4:52pm

The government risks pushing prices of homes even higher if sites on its land-sale list designated for private flats are used to build public housing, experts warn.

The debate on whether the government should allocate private residential land to build public housing was reignited when the Secretary for Development, Paul Chan Mo-po, reiterated yesterday that the government would study its feasibility.

At a joint housing and development panel meeting on Friday, lawmakers called for more land to be assigned for public housing, to cut a waiting list of about 200,000 applicants.

Chan said that when considering the proposal, the government would make sure there were sufficient supplies of land for both private flats and public housing.

"When we are making the decision, we will look at the issue as a whole and not take sides," Chan said. "We will definitely look into it, but it does not mean that we must do it without considering the consequences."

Chan said there was a precedent for using land on the list allocated to private flats for public housing, but a balance had to be struck, as the supply shortage was a problem in both sectors.

However, surveyors and property agents said the government risked further fuelling property prices because there would be less land available for private housing.

The founder of the Centaline property agency, Shih Wing-ching, said: "Land for private housing is already insufficient. If the land designated for private flats is used to build public housing, then the land supply for private housing will be more insufficient. It will be harder to get prices [for private housing] down."

A surveyor, Charles Chan Chiu-kwok, said: "The market would think the government has no ability to provide enough land for private residential flats if land on the list of land-sale is taken away to build public housing."

But Housing Authority member Michael Choi Ngai-min said the market would not be so sensitive if the government only allocated land that property developers did not desire to public housing constructions.