Government will continue to boost housing supply, says CE

     The Government will continue to boost housing supply and will not relax demand-side management measures or reduce land supply, the Chief Executive, Mr C Y Leung, said today (January 13) in his 2016 Policy Address.

     "Our efforts over the past three and a half years have produced results," he said.

     "The supply of flats has significantly increased, and property prices and rentals have started to fall, reversing the perception that property prices and rentals can only go up.

     "Some people wonder whether the Government will relax the demand-side management measures or even reduce land supply.

     "While it is the Government's responsibility to provide land and public housing units to cater for the housing needs of the public, it is not the Government's duty to ensure that property prices follow an upward trend," Mr Leung said.

     "Neither should property prices be kept at a high level by generating a shortage on purpose."

     Mr Leung said that "the current property price and rental levels are much higher than people can afford, and have distorted the values of the younger generation. We should continue to tackle the housing problem and should not give up."

     Over the next five years, the Housing Authority and the Hong Kong Housing Society will produce about 97,100 public housing units, of which about 76,700 will be public rental housing units and about 20,400 subsidised sale flats.

     On private housing, he said projected supply from the first-hand residential property market would be about 87,000 units over the next three to four years - a record high since the first release of quarterly supply statistics in September 2004.

     Mr Leung said the Government would press ahead with long-term plans to build up a land reserve for the next generation.

     He said that in the short and medium term, the Government would continue to rezone sites, increase development intensity and conduct land-use reviews to ensure optimal use of land.

     Mr Leung said that of the 150 potential housing sites identified through land-use review, most could be made available for housing development in five years, producing more than 210,000 flats, over 70 per cent of which would be for public housing.

     A further 42 sites had been identified for residential development in the short and medium term. These sites are expected to provide about 39,200 flats, including 23,500 public housing units and 15,700 private housing units.

     Some existing sites could also be slightly expanded to create an additional 17,000 units, 90 per cent of which would be public housing.

     Mr Leung said the Government is also working with the MTR Corporation Limited to explore the development potential of stations and related sites along existing and future rail lines. He said the preliminary estimate was that such sites, including the Siu Ho Wan Depot in Lantau, could provide more than 12,000 flats.

     The former Cha Kwo Ling Kaolin Mine and Anderson Road Quarry will also be developed, providing more than 11,000 residential units and over 25,000 square metres of commercial floor area, with the units ready for occupation progressively from 2023-24.

     In 2015-16, 16 residential sites were sold or will be put up for sale, with a production capacity of about 20,300 flats.

     Mr Leung said the Government would make vigorous efforts to take forward new development and extension projects in the New Territories and Lantau, considering such projects as reclamation on an appropriate scale outside Victoria Harbour, development of artificial islands in the central waters and rock cavern and underground space development.

     "We estimate that Kwu Tung North and Fanling North new development areas (NDAs), together with the Tung Chung New Town Extension, Hung Shui Kiu NDA and the Yuen Long South Development will provide more than 197,000 units for occupation, starting seven years from now.

     "These areas will provide over 7.8 million square metres of floor area for commercial or industrial use and bring nearly 240,000 employment opportunities in various sectors."

     Mr Leung said the new business district in Kowloon East had great development potential and could supply about 5 million square metres of commercial or office space.

     Commercial floor space in the two action areas in Kwun Tong and Kowloon Bay will increase from about 500,000 square metres to about 560,000 square metres. Two Government land plots in the Kowloon Bay Action Area were sold last year and will provide more than 120,000 square metres of commercial floor area.

Ends/Wednesday, January 13, 2016
Issued at HKT 14:19