Hong Kong hopes new measures solve burdensome housing problem

Hong Kong struggles to find answers for the increasing number of housing problems.

Hong Kong chief executive Leung Chun-ying has planned more measures in an attempt to combat the city’s increasing housing problems.

“Tackling the housing problem is a top priority,” Leung said. “Property prices and rentals have continued to rise by such an extent they are now beyond people’s affordability.”

The number of applicants on the city’s public housing waiting list is approaching 200,000. About 65,000 private residential units are expected to be available in the next three to four years, Leung said.

Leung said the government has been emphasizing efforts in boosting supply. He said government officials had got together over the past weekend to talk about how to boost the city’s land supplies.

The government has also been discussing with property developers on ways to speed up presales approvals as well as studying possible land conversion plans, China Daily reported.

Hong Kong is the world’s most expensive place to buy a home after prices advanced more than 90 percent since early 2009 because of a lack of new supply, an influx of buyers from China and record low mortgage rates.

Property analysts say there are limited new approach options from the government given that Leung already announced ten new measures to remedy the city’s overheated housing problem in August.

“It is most likely that the government will extend the current Special Stamp Duty (SSD) to a longer-term and levy heavier tax on short reselling activities,” Wong Leung-sing, associate director of research at Centaline Property Agency Limited, said.

The SSD, which took effect in 2010, aims to curb short-term property speculation, and it will go up to 15 percent if a sale transaction takes place within six months.

Set to end next month according to initial plans, the two-year-long housing measure also stipulated that the SSD will drop to 10 percent for homes resold within a one-year period and five percent for resale carried out between 12 and 24 months.

Filed Under: Hong KongNewsNews by Country


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