LCQ9: Green Form Subsidised Home Ownership Scheme
The Chief Executive indicated in the Policy Address delivered last month that future public housing developments should include more Green Form Subsidised Home Ownership Scheme (GSH) units instead of public rental housing (PRH) units, in order to achieve regularisation of GSH. Persons who are eligible for purchasing GSH units include PRH tenants and PRH applicants whose eligibility has been established and who are due for allocation of PRH units in about a year's time. Some members of the public have relayed to me that they have been waiting for PRH for a number of years but their eligibility for allocation of PRH units has not been established. They worry that the regularisation of GSH may cause a reduction of the supply of PRH units, thereby lengthening the waiting time for allocation of PRH units. During the period when they are waiting for PRH, their family income may rise beyond the limits, resulting in their losing at the same time the eligibilities for the allocation of PRH units and for purchasing GSH units. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
(1) among the PRH applicants on the PRH Waiting List, of the respective numbers and percentages, as estimated by the authorities at the time when GSH units of the next phase are available for sale, of those applicants:
(i) who are eligible for purchasing GSH units, and
(ii) who have been waiting for PRH for more than three years, but are ineligible for purchasing GSH units;
(2) whether it will relax the eligibility criteria for purchasing GSH units, so as to cover those PRH applicants who have been waiting for PRH for more than three years; and
(3) whether it will allocate more sites for building PRH units, so as to ensure that the supply of PRH units will not be reduced as a result of regularisation of GSH?
The 2017 Policy Address states that the Government will focus on supply and step up our efforts in increasing the supply of housing units based on the Long Term Housing Strategy. As announced in December last year, the total housing supply target for the ten-year period from 2017-18 to 2026-27 is 460 000 units. The public housing supply target is 280 000 units, of which 200 000 are public rental housing (PRH) units. Sites as identified by the Government for public housing development can only provide 236 000 units during this ten-year period, falling short of the target of 280 000 public housing units. To meet the supply target, the Government will continue to strive to identify sites for public housing development.
The Policy Address also proposes regularising the Green Form Subsidised Home Ownership Scheme (GSH) and providing more GSH flats, thereby stepping up our efforts to help those relatively better-off Green Formers, including PRH tenants, to move up the housing ladder and vacate their units for allocation to the needy. After purchasing GSH flats, PRH tenants are required to vacate their PRH units. This "one-for-one" arrangement will not reduce the supply of PRH. If Green Form (GF) buyers of the GSH flats are PRH applicants who have passed the detailed eligibility vetting, their home ownership aspirations will be addressed earlier. This also allows the allocation of PRH resources to those waiting for PRH with more pressing needs.
The Hong Kong Housing Authority (HA) launched the GSH pilot project King Tai Court in San Po Kong in October 2016. The GHS Pilot Scheme adopted the same definition of GF applicants currently applicable to the Home Ownership Scheme (HOS), i.e. PRH tenants and other persons who are eligible for using GF status to buy HOS flats, the latter being primarily PRH applicants who have passed the detailed eligibility vetting and obtained a Green Form Certificate. Such criteria have been in place for many years.
All 857 flats of King Tai Court were sold in February 2017, with over 800 buyers being PRH tenants. Only 16 of them were PRH applicants with Green Form Certificate.
HA will review the effectiveness of the GSH Pilot Scheme. In considering whether to regularise GSH, we believe that HA would study the details of future GSH projects, including the price setting mechanism, eligibility criteria and sales arrangements, etc. In addition, as the number of PRH applications and those applications which have passed the detailed eligibility vetting change from time to time and only represent the situation at a particular point in time, HA is unable to estimate their changes in future.
Ends/Wednesday, November 8, 2017
Issued at HKT 12:20
Issued at HKT 12:20