Photo: VCG

Hong Kong authorities and associations are stepping up efforts to tackle the city’s housing woes. By plotting more housing projects and proposing more affordable houses for the youth, the Hong Kong SAR government looks to find a solution for this deep-rooted economic problem that is behind the recent social turbulence in the city.

The Lands Department posted land resumption notices on Thursday for the first phase development of new areas in Kwu Tung North and Fanling North, with a total of 784 private lots, covering a 68-hectare area, according to the official website of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) government. 

On completion the two land plots are expected to provide a total of about 71,800 housing units, and the first phase will provide about 21,000 housing units, of which 18,000 are public housing units.

As the city has been engulfed in three months of anti-government protests, it is believed that lack of affordable homes remains one of the most prevalent problems faced by many Hong Kong residents, ranging from low-income earners to young professionals.

This issue of housing further exacerbated public grievances and played a significant role in fueling protests on the streets of the city, experts say.

Now, both the HKSAR government and local property developers are taking necessary actions that reflect their strong determination to tackle the housing woes, analysts said.

After New World Development, one of the Hong Kong’s big four property conglomerates, announced that it would donate 3 million square feet (270,000 square meter) of farmland – nearly one-fifth of its farmland holdings – to build new homes amid Hong Kong’s housing crisis, Henderson Land Development reportedly said it would offer three plots of land under the government’s latest land resumption project. 

“We have one-million square feet of land under the government’s latest land resumption, and the company is willing to fully cooperate with the government to push public housing project,” a spokesperson of the company told the Global Times on Friday. 

The government has been launching different measures to step up its effort in tackling the shortage of affordable housing. “The move for development should also be a balanced one, by offering both public and private houses an opportunity to increase the supply,” the spokesperson added.

Under the land resumption in Kwu Tung North and Fanling North, the company, as one of the biggest private developers, said it owns about 10 hectares — about one million square feet of the land market for resumption in Fanling North, according to media reports. And the company expressed its willingness to cooperate in the public housing project. 

“Our Hong Kong Foundation”, a think tank established by former chief executive Tung Chee-hwa, also released new housing policy suggestions recently that proposed the re-launch of the “tenants purchase scheme,” which if implemented will set a unit’s price at 25 percent below the market average.