Hong Kong housing

Why Hong Kong’s housing problems will remain even if we find more land

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 22 April, 2018, 9:45am
UPDATED : Sunday, 22 April, 2018, 9:45am

I am writing in response to the article, “More land for homes on the way, but what about quality of life in Hong Kong, Greenpeace asks”, April 18).

The housing problem is an urgent matter for the government, and the shortage of suitable land is said to be making our living environment ever smaller.

The government is launching a public consultation this week on options to boost land supply, including reclamation. However, I do not believe more land will ensure better living conditions.

To begin with, increasing land supply is too long-term a solution. People already have to wait nearly five years on average for public housing, and nearly 210,000 live in subdivided units.

There is also no guarantee that the new land will be used to build affordable and decent housing. Private developers may bid for the land to develop upmarket projects, or even more micro flats. I share Greenpeace’s concerns about bad urban planning and high property prices remaining unresolved problems.

Moreover, a good living environment means enough public and recreational facilities. It is not clear if these issues would be considered even if more land is found.

Therefore, the government should not put its whole focus on efforts to find land. It should revamp its land policy to put an end to developer hegemony, which makes housing so expensive. This is the more immediate problem that needs to be addressed.

Chan Cheuk Ying, Kwai Chung