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Income and asset limits for public rental housing for 2016/17

The following is issued on behalf of the Hong Kong Housing Authority:

     The Hong Kong Housing Authority (HA)'s Subsidised Housing Committee (SHC) today (March 15) discussed the outcome of the review of income and asset limits for public rental housing (PRH) for 2016/17, and endorsed the income and asset limits for different household sizes with effect from April 1 (See table attached).

     "The PRH income and asset limits are reviewed annually in accordance with the established mechanism to keep them in line with prevailing socio-economic circumstances. Overall, the PRH income and asset limits for 2016/17 will increase by an average of 8.9 per cent and 2.7 per cent respectively over those for 2015/16. Taking four-person households as an example, the monthly income limit will increase from $25,250 to $26,690 and the asset limit will increase from $487,000 to $500,000," a spokesman for the HA said.

     Under the established mechanism, the PRH income limits are derived using a household expenditure approach, which consists of housing cost and non-housing cost, plus a contingency provision. Housing cost measures the cost of renting private accommodation comparable to PRH. This depends on the differential unit rents of private accommodation and reference flat sizes (i.e. average space allocated to PRH applicants in the past three years). Non-housing cost is determined with reference to the latest Household Expenditure Survey conducted by the Census and Statistics Department (C&SD), with adjustments made according to the latest movements in the Consumer Price Index (CPI)(A) (excluding housing costs), or the change in the nominal wage index obtained through the Labour Earnings Survey conducted by the C&SD, whichever is higher. As regards the PRH asset limits, they are adjusted with reference to movements in CPI(A) over the year.

     The SHC also discussed the findings of the direct investigation conducted by the Office of The Ombudsman (The Ombudsman) into the method of calculation of waiting time for PRH and the release of information.  Regarding The Ombudsman's view that the waiting time information for PRH lacks transparency, the SHC noted that the Housing Department (HD) has already provided relevant information through different channels, which include explaining the definition of average waiting time (AWT) and its calculation basis in details in the application guide for PRH and on the website; publishing the latest PRH allocation status of different family sizes in different districts in newspapers and on the website on a monthly basis; uploading the latest quarter-end figures of PRH applications and AWT in about five weeks' time after the end of each quarter onto the website; releasing the latest public housing production forecast for the next five years through the website, and updating the forecast on a quarterly basis; and uploading the paper on HD's special analysis of the housing situation of general applicants every year onto the HA Paper Library on the website and providing a link at the "Flat Application" webpage.

     "In light of the views of the SHC, we will upload the waiting time distribution of general applicants housed to PRH over the past year by their district choice and household size onto the website with regular updates, with a view to further enhancing the transparency of information," the spokesman said.

     The SHC also noted the progress of the 2015/16 checking exercise of applications under the Quota and Points System (QPS). The SHC agreed on October 14, 2014 to conduct regular checking on the eligibility of QPS applicants who have waited for five years but not yet due for detailed vetting within the next two years. For those applicants who indicate withdrawal of applications, found to be no longer eligible after paper checking and/or interview, or do not respond to HD's request for checking, their applications will be cancelled.

     "We will prepare a full report to the SHC in due course after we have completed the entire checking exercise in end March.  We will also start preparation for the next checking exercise for 2016/17, which we intend to commence in May or June 2016," the spokesman said.

Ends/Tuesday, March 15, 2016
Issued at HKT 20:25


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