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Transcript of remarks by STH after the Long Term Housing Strategy Steering Committee meeting

     Following is a transcript of remarks by the Secretary for Transport and Housing, Professor Anthony Cheung Bing-leung, at a media session after chairing the eleventh meeting of the Long Term Housing Strategy Steering Committee yesterday (August 7) evening:

Reporter: Can you tell us what we can expect from the consultation document......

Secretary for Transport and Housing: I think, first of all, the consultation document will outline the problem - the housing problem - the various dimensions of the problem, and we would also put forward our assessment of housing demand for the next ten years and what we think should be the target to be met by the Government by way of housing supply. Of course we do not underestimate the challenge and the difficulties because there are constraints, there is a time lag and the demand keeps on building up. But we think that there is a need for the whole community to be aware of the complexity of the problem, the seriousness of the problem, and we think that the problem should be owned by the whole community and the problem would call for a solution that can be supported by a broad consensus. So, in a way the coming consultation document will be an exercise to build consensus.

     We have to meet rising expectations - the younger generation. We realise the poor housing conditions of those households living in sub-divided units. We realise that our young people, our children should grow up in a better housing environment, so all these impose a big challenge to the Government. This is a task all members of the Steering Committee feel that it is very important. As I said to members at the meeting, we have set a record as far as the Committee is concerned, because just over ten months we have met for eleven times. Each meeting lasted for several hours. And those eleven meetings did not include break-up sessions, special briefing sessions. So, I think all members had put in a lot of efforts. They have put in their hearts in the process.

Reporter: Any discussion on the market cooling measures, such as the SSD (Special Stamp Duty) or BSD (Buyer's Stamp Duty)? Does the committee support or against these measures?

Secretary for Transport and Housing: The Steering Committee supports the Government in implementing cooling measures - what we call demand-management measures. Of course, we have heard views from some quarters, particularly property agents, regarding whether the Government should withdraw those measures. And as I've said earlier, the Government is determined to stabilise the residential property market. We feel that those demand-side management measures that we have introduced are essential. We do not see any sign that the Government should withdraw those measures because we are very concerned about the message that might be sent to the community or the market should the Government be seen to be softening on those measures. Because if there is any sign that the Government is softening, that will mean the market will go up again. So, this is something that we feel is of vital interest to the community. And a stable property market is also important for our macro-economic and financial stability. So, the Government's determination to keep those measures there is very clear.

(Please also refer to the Chinese portion of the transcript.)

Ends/Thursday, August 8, 2013
Issued at HKT 00:52


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