Tung Chee-hwa think tank calls for subsidized flat purchases

November 10, 2015 09:46
Through his Our Hong Kong Foundation, Tung Chee-hwa wants the government to subsidize home ownership. The foundation is proposing the sale of public rental housing units at up to a 50 percent discount. Photo: HKEJ

A think tank headed by former chief executive Tung Chee-hwa is proposing subsidized flat purchases to push home ownership rates to 80 percent of Hong Kong households.

But critics said Our Hong Kong Foundation, which made the proposal among a raft of measures to address the housing crunch, is being too ambitious.

They said the idea is "unfair and over the top" and impossible to implement, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.

Richard Wong, an economics professor in the University of Hong Kong who advises the think tank, said the proposals are an alternative to a market mechanism that does not help people become homeowners.

The think tank is proposing the sale of public rental housing units under the Home Ownership Scheme at up to a 50 percent discount.

Subsidized premiums will be set beforehand.

The scheme is limited to Hong Kong permanent residents who will be required to hold the units for a minimum of five years.

Also, the proposal calls for changes to land-use rights for country parks to residential purposes.

Hong Kong needs an additional 9,350 hectares, thrice the size of Sha Tin, to meet its housing needs by 2044, the think tank said.

[Chinese version中文版]

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Hong Kong Economic Journal