As many as half of the 170,000 babies born in Hong Kong to mainland parents may aspire to live in the city, the government says.
That was the estimate given to the Long-Term Housing Strategy Steering Committee yesterday, member Michael Choi Ngai-min said.
"In preliminary contact [with mainland families], it was estimated that about half [of those born here] may be interested in coming to Hong Kong for education or would have housing needs," he said.
"Further evaluation is necessary to determine if they think differently in later years." Many factors need to be considered in determining housing demand, Choi said. Among those are the needs of the transient population such as expatriates and non-local students, as well as the changing structure of local families.
Speaking after the meeting, acting Secretary for Transport and Housing Yau Shing-mu said the committee would work on estimating long-term demand for housing over a period of at least 10 years.
The government usually has a better grasp of demand for public housing, as it controls its supply and is aware of the length of the waiting list, he said. But private housing was more difficult to gauge since supply changed due to economic fluctuations.
"Nevertheless, if you look from a long-term perspective, Hong Kong's economic growth is relatively stable. Over the past decade, the annual growth rate was about 4.5 per cent … Can it [the growth rate] serve as a basis for estimating housing demand? We have raised this question [in the briefing]," he said.
The Planning Department earlier proposed converting a former kaolin mine at Cha Kwo Ling and three plots elsewhere in Kwun Tong into residential sites to boost housing supply.