The number of applicants on the waiting list for public housing hit a record high of 285,300 in September, whilst the average waiting time for general applicants to be allocated a flat stands at 3.6 years.
The figure represents an increase of 3,100 applications since the last figures were announced in June. Around half were general applications and half were non-elderly, one-person applications made under the government’s Quota and Points System. An elderly person has to wait for two years, on average, to be allocated public accommodation.
“The pressure on the Housing Authority to build flats is not small,” Secretary for Transport and Housing Anthony Cheung Bing-leung, who is also chairman of the Housing Authority (HA), said after a HA brainstorming session on Tuesday.
“But we also face two challenges in pushing forward housing building plans; the first one is the problem of finding land,” Cheung said, “and the second one is the reaction of communities to building the flats. Many communities oppose the idea [of building new estates next to them] – they worry if the population density would increase.”
“These problems are not easy to solve, it would be a difficult challenge to increase the supply.” he said.
At the brainstorming session of the HA and its committees, committee members discussed the future development plans of flats in the future, Ming Pao reported. Some of the suggestions for the HA include providing quality housing, adopting more environmentally friendly materials, using public resources with better efficiency and increasing the attractiveness of commercial properties that the HA owns and operates.
A member also suggested that the HA should follow foreign countries and build temporary flats using containers to shorten the waiting time.