Public Housing Policy Takes a Sharp Turn

Stop building HOS

 In 2002, due to the downturn in the property market, Sun Mingyang, the director of the Housing, Planning and Lands Bureau back then, announced a series of rescue measures, which the market called "Sun's nine moves", several of which were aimed at public housing:

‧End of the Home Ownership Scheme
‧End of Mixed Development, Private Participation Home Ownership Scheme and Housing Society Subsidized Home Ownership Scheme
‧Termination of public housing sale scheme

The Housing Authority suspended the construction and sale of HOS flats indefinitely from 2003, the TPS ended after the launch of Phase 6B, and the Loan Purchase Scheme was also terminated in 2004.  Part of the HOS estates that were still under construction at that time were converted into public housing (such as Hoi Lai Estate), the private participation HOS flats were sold to cooperative developers (such as Hongwan Peninsula), and the mixed development HOS was subsidized by the developers. The land price was sold as a private building (such as Sham Wan Heen), and the remaining HOS flats were sold as surplus HOS flats from 2007 onwards.  The Housing Society's sandwich houses are sold at market value by the Housing Society's supplementary land premium (such as Yixin Garden).

In 2010, the government conducted a public consultation on subsidizing citizens' home purchases. The results showed that most citizens wanted to rebuild HOS housing.  In response to the demands of the citizens, the government launched the "Purchase with Peace of Mind" program through the Hong Kong Housing Society in the same year, renting to middle-income citizens at market prices. For other units under the scheme, there is also an option to purchase units on the private market.  The first project is located on Tsing Luk Street, Tsing Yi, providing 1,000 units, and the earliest occupancy will be in 2014.

Restoration of HOS flats, full sale for peace of mind, and resale of public housing

 In 2011, the Chief Executive back then Donald Tsang announced in his policy address the restoration of "New Home Housing". In the four years from 2016/2017, more than 17,000 units would be provided, with approximately 2,500 to 6,500 units per year, and 2,500 units would be provided in the first year. If the land supply increases in the future, the authorities will set an average annual planning target of 5,000 units.

In 2012, the new chief executive, Leung Chun-ying, proposed that white form people could buy second-hand housing without paying land premiums. In 2013, there would be a quota of 5,000 for white form people each year. Successful applicants would be issued a certificate and can be used in the second-hand HOS market within a six-month period.  Free land premium to purchase HOS flats.  The purpose of the plan was to help citizens get on the wagon before the new HOS released in 2016.  Applications for the first batch of 5,000 places were accepted in January 2012, and the list of successful applicants was announced in May.  Half of the lottery winners (2,500) were issued an approval letter immediately, and they could buy second-hand HOS flats, public housing for sale and units under the Housing Society’s housing project in the market without land premium; the other half of the lottery winners would have to wait until next January. The approval letter is issued and the purchase period is one year.  It is planned to implement a two-year lock-up period, within two years after the purchase of the unit, unless the land premium is paid, it cannot be resold.

In August 2012, the government announced that the 1,000 units of the first "Zhe An Xin" project located on Tsing Luk Street in Tsing Yi, which had already started construction, together with the remaining 4,000 units that had not yet been finalized, would all be sublet for sale.  At the same time, a longer-term, sustainable and feasible new home purchase and housing plan would be studied to assist the original target group of "Purchase Peace of Mind" to purchase a home and settle down, and the society would be consulted.

In addition, the government is also studying the resale of public housing. The Transport and Housing Bureau is contemplating restarting the review of the long-term housing strategy to assess future housing demand and the number of public and private housing.  The circulation of public housing and the improvement of the utilization of public housing resources.