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  • Dec 28, 2014
  • Updated: 9:22pm
NewsHong Kong
HOUSING

Subsidised flats for young people won't be ready for four years

And there will only be 300 up for grabs when the first projects in subsidised scheme are ready

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 07 February, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 07 February, 2013, 5:05am

It will take up to four years to finish the first lot of subsidised housing for young people under a new scheme - but that will amount to fewer than 300 flats.

That is despite Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying's pledge to spend HK$1 billion on building 3,000 flats for young people who cannot afford private housing.

Details of the watered-down "youth hostel" plan were revealed on Wednesday, with a senior official admitting that it was unlikely to generate the large number of flats needed to solve the shortage.

Leung has promised to meet the short-term housing needs of young singles and couples by providing flats for up to five years at a 40 per cent discount to the market rate in the same area.

But Home Affairs Bureau permanent secretary Raymond Young Lap-moon yesterday said the scheme was never intended to solve the housing shortage. Instead, he said, it is a "youth development scheme" to allow young people to save cash for the future while living in subsidised flats.

Under the pilot scheme, single people aged 18 to 30 will be eligible to apply for flats in two projects - on Hollywood Road, Sheung Wan and in Tai Po - if their income is less than 25 per cent of their age group. That is about HK$15,000 a month, based on 2011 data, and would account for some 770,000 people.

The International Montessori School's Tin Hau campus was originally on the list but will not be included in the pilot scheme.

Applications will also be accepted for two young people who want to live together. The asset limit for a single person is capped at HK$300,000. That would be doubled for two people together. Young said the two people need not be married or a couple. But single tenants would no longer be eligible for public housing.

The Hollywood Road project is expected to yield 200 flats of 15 to 20 square metres, while there will be fewer than 70 flats in Tai Po. Young said more land had been found for similar projects, but he did not elaborate.

He said it would be at least three to four years before the first of the flats were ready for tenants.

Solving the affordable housing shortage was a key part of Leung's election campaign pledges. But Young admitted that the final number of flats built under the youth scheme could fall short of the promised 3,000.

The Hollywood Road project, converting an empty school, will be operated by the Tung Wah Group of Hospitals. A youth centre will be redeveloped in Tai Po, and will be run by the Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups.

But district councillors said it would not be enough. "It would be difficult for young people to use a big portion of their monthly salary to rent one of these flats," said Ken Chow Wing-kan, Yuen Long district councillor.

Tai Po district councillor Kwan Wing-yip said the plan won't help shorten the queue for public housing. "They may not be able to afford the rent even though they only need to pay 60 per cent of it," Kwan said.

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asiaseen
The days are obviously long gone when we could build an airport in about four years.
SpeakFreely
Not only this is a gesture also I find it amazed taking 4 yrs to convert a building! I rehab a house in USA to enlarge the size by 30% more and remodel the whole house to new only takes 3 months including getting the permit. Is HK nowadays getting to blogged down by paper work or just we are getting very inefficient? I guess both.
SpeakFreely
This is only a gesture not really helping as the number of units are just two little and the current house price still too high for these group of young people to save up and buy.
More long term solution still:
1. Develop new cities with jobs plus change the mind set of HK people to Tyoko where people also spend hours communting to work.
2. Free up the city by government helping older people to reallocate to suburb as I see many old people in Wanchai or some central areas are only ood for working young people are but poor air quality and expensive. Government should consider to build city for old folks to give themincentive to move together. Say if old friends move together there (say group of 5) get a 10% discount on house price and free tax and rate for 10 year. This also help them to free up cash to live a better life too. As I found many basically play ma Jong with friends. There is no diff if they live in Tin Shui Wai or wan chai if friends are there as long as u give them a wet market, some community intention, etc. in USA older people move to retirement cities like Florida etc for better weather and price but here in HK older folks just Live in the same congested community for their whole life and actually not good for them and the society.
SpeakFreely
For example, a retired person 65 yrs old own a flat in Wanchai worth say 5m and 1 m cash he still have to really live tightly for the next 10 to 20 years. But if he move to suburb for say 2.5m he will have total cash of 3.5m for the next 10 to 20 yrs. if they get their friends and community move together they should be better off. Once these bung of old folks moved away from cities, it will free up more space in these mature community and can help the young families as supply will increase drastically. This will be a win win.

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