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Addressing housing issues with determination

Housing is a priority livelihood concern for Hong Kong people. It also underpins the stability of our society. Tackling housing issues is hence one of the major tasks of the new-term Government.

When it comes to housing issues, it is the overall direction of my fourth-term Government to steadily and steadfastly fulfil the objectives outlined in my election manifesto. These include assisting the grassroots with flat accommodation, assisting middle-income families who have the financial means to buy their own homes, and making available land in a stable and orderly manner for developers to build private housing.

Both the Government and I are deeply concerned about Hong Kong's prolonged housing issues. As the land planner and primary supplier, as well as the approving authority for housing development, the Government has an indispensable role to play. Just two months after taking office, I, together with colleagues overseeing finance, housing and land planning, set out from various perspectives to conduct an overall review of the housing and land supply policies of Hong Kong in a systematic and focused manner. After thorough discussion, the departments concerned have reached a consensus and are poised to roll out measures to resolve housing problems with determination and a new mindset.

The fundamental solution to housing issues lies with the formulation of strategies for a continuous supply of land in the long run. In light of the current situation, the Government will implement a package of 10 short- and medium-term initiatives to meet people's housing needs at the earliest possible time by expediting the sale of subsidised and private housing units. What is worthy of separate mention is that in the private market there will be an estimated supply of 65 000 first-hand residential flats in the next three to four years. This represents an average provision of 16 000 flats per annum, which is more than double the average annual figure of around 7 000 over the past few years.

In my election manifesto, I also proposed the introduction of a "Hong Kong property for Hong Kong residents" policy, which aims at according priority to the local population's need for home purchases. I have already instructed the lands and legal authorities to study and draft land sales provisions under this new policy.

The Government is committed to addressing housing issues, which have remained unresolved for years. And I would like to see your recognition and support, as well as the complementary efforts of all parties concerned.

September 3, 2012