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Why can't married couples have their own homes?

Housing made up a major part of my 2014 Policy Address, in which I mentioned, "I know some young people cannot afford a home of their own after getting married. They go to work during the day, have dinner together in a restaurant, and then separately return to the homes of their respective parents."

Recently, the Housing Authority launched a new round of the Interim Scheme to Extend the Home Ownership Scheme Secondary Market to White Form Buyers with a quota of 2 500. When reporting the news, the media told the stories of two potential applicants who are forced by circumstances to live apart from their spouses. One is a photographer born in the 1980s. She and her husband have been married for three years with an 8-month-old daughter, but have been living separately in the homes of their parents. Another is a pregnant woman who has also been living apart from her husband, against their preference, since they got married over a year ago. She hopes that the Interim Scheme can help them buy their own home. These two stories, which are sad but true, highlight the urgency of increasing the housing supply.

Meeting the housing needs of our people has always been at the top of my policy agenda. Since taking office, I have been doing my utmost to locate housing land and build more flats, so much so that I was said to be blindly scrambling for land.

Thanks to the dedicated efforts of my colleagues in the Government, particularly those in the Development Bureau, over the past three years, our housing supply is increasing steadily.

According to the latest statistics, a total of 83 000 residential units will be available in the coming three to four years, including unsold units in completed projects, units under construction that are not yet sold by presale, and units for which construction may start at any time. This figure, which represents an increase of 10 000 units over the forecast of 73 000 units at the same time last year, is another record high.

We still need more land to build more flats. Unfortunately some land, although available, cannot be used due to resistance from individual members of local communities, including those who seek to delay rezoning through judicial review and other tactics.

In the coming years, we must speed up the supply of land. Any attempts to hinder land supply will naturally reduce the supply of housing units, thus exerting upward pressure on property prices and rentals. In the end, who will suffer and who will benefit from this?

Hong Kong belongs to all of us. We all have the right and duty to voice our opinion on such issues.

August 31, 2015