Henderson boss Lee Shau-kee mulls flats modelled after subsidised housing

Lee Shau-kee's idea of helping young people enter the residential market is modelled on the Home Ownership Scheme this time

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 11 September, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 11 September, 2013, 4:35am

Property tycoon Lee Shau-kee is thinking of building and selling residential flats similar to subsidised housing, and "the cheaper, the better", he says.

Lee yesterday revealed his latest plan, independent of any government discussion, to give the young of Hong Kong a leg-up in home ownership.

Earlier this year, he offered to donate farmland in Yuen Long where he would build affordable homes targeted at young buyers, but the idea was rejected by the government.

"Recently, I have had some new ideas - I want to do something for people to live contentedly as the young of Hong Kong always say they cannot afford their own properties," the chairman of Henderson Land Development said.

Lee said he was contemplating the construction of at least 2,000 units similar to Home Ownership Scheme flats - on which buyers do not pay a premium. The site to be used might not be farmland, nor might it be owned by him, he said.

He did not reveal further details such as the location, saying the plan was still being developed. He had not discussed it with the government yet, he said.

On top of the flats, new homes for the elderly and youth hostels were also on his to-do list, he said.

Lee unveiled his latest ideas at the opening of an extension to the University of Science and Technology campus in Clearwater Bay that was named after him.

A spokeswoman for Henderson said its chairman would have more details to share by the end of the year.

The Transport and Housing Bureau offered no comment.

In January, the tycoon first floated the idea of donating some of his New Territories land to yield more than 1,000 homes, each of them 300 sq ft, to be sold to young people for about HK$1 million each.

Lee offered a 63,500 sq ft site on Shap Pat Heung Road. He hoped the government would waive land premium charges on farmland modifications in order to accommodate housing, he said at the time.

The government declined his offer a few months later and asked him to approach an NGO instead.

Last month, Lee turned to the Housing Society and agreed after talks that the society would decide who could buy the flats. He said yesterday that the talks were still in progress.

Fred Li Wah-ming, housing adviser to the government, said he was left scratching his head over Lee's motives.

"He might really want to spend his fortune to make himself feel better or this might be for his northeastern New Territories plans," said Li, a former legislator who now sits on the long-term housing strategy steering committee.

Li said uncertainty over the amount of land premium to be paid could be avoided if HOS flats were built.