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Future housing supply

This noon, I attended a large-scale annual luncheon talk on the Policy Address organised by five major chambers of commerce - the last Policy Address event following my delivery of the Policy Address last Wednesday.

All the participants were concerned about Hong Kong's land and housing issues. I pointed out that as most of the residential buildings in the territory are high-rise, the construction time alone for such buildings would account for three years or more. Factoring in preliminary design and other preparatory works, as well as procedures related to government land sale and amendments to the outline zoning plans, the whole production process would take at least four or five years. Therefore, we will only see the results of the current-term Government's efforts in increasing land and housing supply starting this year or the years ahead.

In this year's Policy Address, I mentioned that the number of unsold private residential units under construction is 94 000. This is 45 per cent higher than the figure at the beginning of the Government's current term of office, and a record high since the release of such statistics 12 years ago. Meanwhile, the private residential sites sold by the current-term Government have a capacity to produce units more than double that of the previous term of Government. As for public housing, the production volume in the coming five years will be 37 per cent higher than that in the five-year period starting from 2012-13.

These are all substantial increases. They are the result of hard work by the whole Government over the past five years. I believe that the long-standing problem of serious undersupply of housing will be eased gradually.

January 26, 2017