Following is the transcript of remarks by the Secretary for Development, Mr Michael Wong, at the question-and-answer session of the media session today (December 18) on the quarterly land sale programme for January to March 2018:
Reporter: Mr Wong, we are seeing higher record of home prices in Hong Kong for quite a while already. I understand the Government has already exceeded the target of private housing supply already. Do you see the need for a higher target in the coming year? My second question is that you mentioned the Government will explore different sources for land supply. What are those sources that we could see that could potentially be rolled out in the near term?
Secretary for Development: For your first question, when devising the supply target of 18,000 flats of private housing every year, the basis for that is neither housing prices nor the ability to find land. That comes from the 10-year plan of the Long Term Housing Strategy, so that forms the basis. That basis is formed by taking into account the community needs, the demand side. For example, the growth in population, the growth in households, and the need of those whose housing conditions at the moment are considered as substandard. The 18,000 target is also subject to annual review. I understand that near the end of every year, the THB (Transport and Housing Bureau) will hold a press conference to announce the target for the coming years. So wait a bit longer and you will see what the new target will be. That is led by THB.
For your second question, if you look at the discussions taking place at the moment in the context of the Task Force on Land Supply, indeed there are many options. But I will refrain from commenting on the details of those options or whether some of the options will have a higher chance of being adopted. As you know, the Task Force is at the moment discussing various options. The next stage will take place in the second quarter of 2018, that is the public engagement phase, where they will discuss the merits and demerits of various options with the community. Afterwards, they will let the Government have their recommendations. It is at that stage that we will take a view.
Reporter: So basically until the second half of next year, we are going to keep seeing Government selling land as the only option of land supply at the moment?
Secretary for Development: I would not say that. Land sale is one of the means. If you look at what we are doing to increase land supply, for the near term, what we are doing is to rezone and also increase the intensity of various areas for which OZPs (Outline Zoning Plans) have been done, and you know that will not be the most popular option. If you live in an area where we are increasing the intensity, you would not like it. We understand that. But if it is necessary, it will have to be done. For the medium term, we are talking about various new development areas (NDAs). From 2023 onwards, we will see people being able to move into various NDAs: Fanling North, Kwu Tung North, Hung Shui Kiu, Yuen Long South, and Tung Chung. Together, we will see an additional 220,000 units for our people. For the even longer term, in the context of "Hong Kong 2030+", we are exploring, for example, two strategic growth areas. One is called the ELM (East Lantau Metropolis). The other is NT (New Territories) North. There are various ways in which we are trying our best to meet the need for more land for Hong Kong. We also look forward to the Task Force. They may have better ideas.
(Please also refer to the Chinese portion of the transcript.)
Ends/Monday, December 18, 2017
Issued at HKT 21:23