Tung Chee-hwa's housing targets were dealt a further blow yesterday when the construction industry said it could not build 85,000 homes a year. Industry bosses said that if they set out to achieve the target, the result could be a flood of empty, low-quality flats. The Hong Kong Construction Association, which groups 350 construction companies, yesterday urged the Chief Executive to withdraw his targets of 85,000 flats a year and 70 per cent home ownership by 2007. The target was set by Mr Tung in his maiden policy speech last October. Since then, property prices have dropped by 40 per cent. Developers have demanded Mr Tung's sights be lowered as well. The Government has been criticised for introducing a variety of subsidised housing projects and selling government quarters. Developers began a price war this week, offering up to 20 per cent discounts on new projects. 'We warned the Housing Bureau when the pledges were made that we were unable to keep abreast of their plans, even though it sounded beautiful, but they ignored us,' said Patrick Chan Wing-tung, secretary general of the association. He estimated that they could build 50,000 flats a year at most for both the private and public sectors. 'But we reiterate that today, as we witness public confidence in property has plunged, we do not want to use our resources in building projects no one wants. 'If we blindly follow the targets we will be forced to bring a lot of unskilled workers on to construction sites. Both building quality and their own safety would not be guaranteed,' said Mr Chan. 'And it would mean a huge number of workers being thrown out of jobs when the targets are achieved. That would hurt both our industry and the community as a whole,' he said.