The average waiting time of general applications for public housing is at an historic high of 4.7 years.

The latest figure was announced by the Housing Department on Thursday.

“It is a bit longer numerically,” Secretary for Transport and Housing Frank Chan said in response.

public housing
A public housing estate under construction in Cheung Sha Wan. File Photo: HKFP/Ellie Ng.

As of the end of June, there were around 150,200 general applications for public rental housing – a rise of 2,900 compared to the first quarter of this year.

There were also about 127,600 non-elderly one-person applications, a decrease of around 1,000 compared to the first quarter. The average waiting time for such applicants was 2.6 years.

The average waiting time for general applications had already risen to 4.7 years at the end of last year, but it  dropped to 4.6 years by March, before returning to the historic high in the latest figures.

“The public housing policy of the government has always been to find more land for more public housing to satisfy demand,” secretary Chan said on Thursday. “I hope the public can understand it takes time to build public housing. Even if we have land today, it will take four or five years to build public housing.”

Frank Chan
Frank Chan. File Photo: GovHK.

Chan had proposed working with social welfare organisations to push forward legal subdivided flats. He said he has received many responses over the past month, including from developers which were willing to provide hundreds of empty flats, as well as offers of financial support.

“We hope to roll [them] out by the end of the year,” he said.

Kris Cheng is a Hong Kong journalist with an interest in local politics. His work has been featured in Washington Post, Public Radio International, Hong Kong Economic Times and others. He has a BSSc in Sociology from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Kris is HKFP's Editorial Director.