Secretary for Transport and Housing Frank Chan Fan advised young people to pursue their dreams and “not just focus on owning a flat”, which he said should be of little importance in their lives, hk01.com reports.
Chan was invited by the Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups to speak at an online program on Monday with more than 200 students as participants. Chan also fielded questions from netizens.
Asked when he thought flat prices would come down, Chan said he cannot foresee coming trends in the housing market because he himself owns no property.
He said young people should pursue their goals in life and look to other things than buying property.
He also said it is important for young people to go out and see the world because travel broadens experience and enriches life.
A student asked why new immigrants were able to get public housing units faster than the locals, but Chan denied this, adding that he believes it is nothing but a misunderstanding.
He said the requirements for public housing have not changed: new immigrants have to live in the city for at least seven straight years before they can apply for a unit.
Chan also pointed out that there have been many policies implemented since 2012, such as the double stamp duty, to discourage speculation in the property market, which is a major reason for the rise in home prices.
But he also noted that Hong Kong is highly dependent on foreign investment, and as such, it would be unreasonable not to allow overseas investors to buy property in the city.
Chan said he does not know why “Hong Kong properties are so popular around the world”.
He revealed that as a student he failed in many subjects in the Hong Kong Certificate of Education Examination, but his teachers persuaded him to continue with his studies.
He also said he used to skip classes to attend to other school activities, such as making banners for the sports day and parading around the campus, and he would hide when the school principal was looking out of his office window so as not to be scolded.
Chan told his young audience not to give up trying to overcome all difficulties in life. He said when he was in secondary seven, he felt lost and wanted to quit school, but with the right encouragement, he pursued his studies and went on to college.
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