Hong Kong people are less optimistic about home ownership than three years ago, and most of them believe the government should provide financial assistance to enable them to buy their own homes, a survey finds.
The survey, commissioned by the think tank [email protected], was conducted by the Public Governance Programme of Lingnan University between July 23 and 31. A total of 1,048 Hongkongers aged 18 or above were interviewed to gather their views on housing.
The survey came as the Task Force on Land Supply, a panel appointed by Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor last year, has been conducting a five-month public consultation, from April 26 to Sept. 26, on how to boost land supply to alleviate the housing problem.
In the Lingnan University survey, the respondents gave an average score of 3.87 points, on a scale of 0 to 10, for their projection of the housing situation in Hong Kong, down 0.43 point from a similar survey conducted three years ago, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.
More than eight in 10, or 85 percent of the respondents, agreed that the government has the responsibility to enable Hongkongers to buy or rent a flat, while 53 percent believed the government is obliged to financially help those who have an average income to deal with the housing issue.
The survey also found that nearly 75 percent hoped to see the prices of subsidized housing totally delinked from market prices, adding that the latest price cuts by the government were not helping the supposed beneficiaries sufficiently.
In June, Lam lowered the selling prices of Home Ownership Scheme (HOS) flats to 52 percent of the current market rate from 70 percent previously, bringing down the prices of such flats by HK$920,000 on average.
However, the think tank pointed out that the public knew very well that, despite the new measure, the prices might still be driven up by market rates as long the link exists.
Given the situation, six in 10 respondents believe the prices of subsidized flats should only be linked to buyers’ affordability while 16 percent think the prices should be linked to construction costs. Only 8 percent agreed to maintain the status quo of linking subsidized housing to market prices.
Shih Wing-ching, chairman of Centaline Property Agency, who is also a member of [email protected], said additional government spending will have little impact because the high cost of housing is largely due to high land prices.
Aside from charging less for land, Shih said the government should lower the monthly income requirement of HK$57,000 to HK$74,000 set for families applying for the Starter Homes scheme.
According to data from the Census and Statistics Department, the number of families with a monthly income between HK$50,000 and HK$80,000 account for only 14.5 percent of the total.
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