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LCQ8: Subsidised home ownership schemes
     Following is a question by the Hon Stanley Ng and a written reply by the Secretary for Transport and Housing, Mr Frank Chan Fan, in the Legislative Council today (June 22):


     It has been reported that Hong Kong has become the world's most unaffordable city in terms of property prices, where sandwich class families and young people find it particularly difficult to buy homes. There are views pointing out that the existing Home Ownership Scheme and Starter Homes Pilot Scheme for Hong Kong Residents (SH) are unable to meet the home-buying needs of members of the public, and the Government should introduce dedicated subsidised home ownership schemes for specific targets. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(1) of the number of flats to be supplied under various subsidised home ownership schemes in each of the coming five years, and set out, by the name of such schemes, the type, location and launch time of each project;

(2) of the up-to-date number of applications received under the Land Sharing Pilot Scheme (LSPS), and the locations and land areas of the sites involved in such applications, and the number of public housing units that can be produced; as the LSPS requires that no less than 70 per cent of the increased domestic gross floor area of the development proposal concerned be set aside for development of public housing or SH units, whether the authorities will consider specifying the proportion of units among them that will be set aside for subsidised home ownership schemes, so as to meet the home-buying needs of sandwich class families;

(3) as it has been reported that a non-profit-making organisation plans to develop a subsidised private housing project targeting at young families, whether the Government will communicate with the organisation on the eligibility criteria and resale arrangements pertaining to the project, so that the project can create a complementary synergy with the Government's subsidised home ownership schemes; if so, of the details;

(4) whether it will formulate policies and guidelines for public-private partnership in subsidised housing development, with a view to encouraging private developers to build subsidised housing to assist targeted groups in buying homes; as the Government indicated in its reply to a question raised by a Member of this Council on June 1 this year that it adopted a positive attitude towards tapping the resources of the private market to assist in providing subsidised housing, whether the Government has drawn up a timetable for re-launching the Private Sector Participation Scheme; and

(5) whether it has plans to reconstruct the home-buying ladder and introduce dedicated home ownership schemes for sandwich class families and young people, so as to enable them to choose a suitable home ownership option according to their affordability and needs; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?



     Having consulted the Development Bureau (DEVB), the reply to the question raised by the Hon Stanley Ng is as follows.

(1) Based on the forecast as at March 2022, the number of flats, housing type, location and date of commencement of application of the subsidised sale flats (SSFs) of the Hong Kong Housing Authority (HA) and the Hong Kong Housing Society from 2022-23 to 2026-27 is at Annex. Having considered factors such as the progress of construction and sales preparation, the HA will review from time to time the date of pre-sale of the projects and endeavour to offer SSFs for sale as soon as possible when circumstances permit.

(2) The Land Sharing Office (LSO) of the DEVB has so far received five formal applications under the Land Sharing Pilot Scheme (LSPS). The locations concerned are Lo Fai Road and Ting Kok Road in Tai Po, Ho Chau Road in Yuen Long (near Tung Shing Lei), She Shan Road and Lam Kam Road in Tai Po (near Lam Tsuen), South of She Sha Road, Lam Tsuen in Tai Po and Wing Ning Tsuen, Long Ping Road in Yuen Long respectively. The five applications involve a total land area of about 39 hectares. A total of about 17 300 public housing/Starter Homes (the exact subsidised housing type is to be determined by the Government) and about 7 800 private housing units are proposed under the five applications. The actual number of flats that could be provided is subject to the findings of relevant technical assessments and further vetting of the Government.

     The Panel of Advisors (PoA) of the LSPS has initially reviewed the three applications received earlier on. The Panel has considered the preliminary assessments of the applications by relevant bureaux/departments and made comments from a variety of perspectives including plot ratios, building heights, the demarcation of public and private portions, building disposition, infrastructure facilities and the impact on traffic and the surrounding environment, etc. The LSO has conveyed the comments from the PoA and bureaux/departments concerned to the applicants, such that they can revise their proposals. If the application is supported by the PoA, the DEVB will seek the Chief Executive in Council's in-principle endorsement, followed by relevant statutory and administrative procedures. The relevant progress will be disclosed as appropriate.

     As regards the two applications received recently, the DEVB is seeking comments from relevant departments and will submit the applications for PoA's consideration as soon as possible.

     Regarding the housing type, we will maintain flexibility on the types of public housing to cater for the change of demands between public rental housing and SSFs, and adjust their supply in a timely manner to better respond to the market changes and the housing needs of the community at large. Based on the concept of "inter-changeability", in planning public housing projects, the Government will consider a number of factors including local housing need and the that of the community as a whole.

(3) and (4) Private sector participation can help increase the building capacity of the HA and the supply of subsidised housing. The Government hence adopts a positive attitude towards tapping the resources of the private market to assist in providing subsidised housing. That notwithstanding, there were issues on flat quality under the former Private Sector Participation Scheme as a result of the lack of sufficient economic incentives to encourage developers to ensure flat quality. With reference to past experience, we consider it necessary to put in place a mechanism that is effective in providing sufficient incentives to encourage private organisations to develop subsidised housing while ensuring the quality of the flats at the same time. We will explore a suitable framework along this direction.

     Recently, a private developer has publicly expressed its intention to provide subsidised housing on its private land and has submitted the planning application. The Transport and Housing Bureau welcomes such a proposal. If the proposal is materialised, it will help increase the supply of subsidised housing and can provide an additional option for potential homebuyers. We have been maintaining communications with the private developer concerned and would provide assistance as appropriate.

(5) The Government has been sparing no efforts in identifying land for housing construction so as to address the housing needs of different sectors, including the sandwich class families and the youth. We are also committed to enriching the housing ladder, including revising the pricing policy for Home Ownership Scheme by delinking the selling price of the flats with the property prices in the private market to make them more affordable; introducing the "Starter Homes" pilot projects; regularising the Green Form Subsidised Home Ownership Scheme and the White Form Secondary Market Scheme; and accelerating the sale of unsold flats in the Tenant Purchase Scheme estates, etc. The objective of the Government in providing SSFs is to address the home ownership aspiration of families with different incomes. All eligible persons can apply for the above-mentioned schemes. We do not have any plan to introduce new home ownership schemes targeting specifically at the sandwich class families and the youth.
Ends/Wednesday, June 22, 2022
Issued at HKT 14:50
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