The average waiting time for public housing has risen to 5.5 years for general applicants – a record high.

According to the Housing Authority, as of the end of September, there were about 150,200 general applications for public rental housing, and about 117,500 non-elderly single-person applications.

The average waiting time for general applicants stands at 5.5 years, whilst the average waiting time for elderly single-person applicants was 2.9 years.

Kai Tai public housing development area. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

The Federation of Public Housing Estates said it expects waiting times to soon exceed six years.

“The three-year goal for residents to be allocated public housing will become a six-year goal,” it said. “It will become impossible for grassroots people to get a flat.”

It suggested the government should build more transitional housing, such as homes fashioned from shipping containers, to resolve the issue.

Lion Rock with residential buildings in the foreground. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Federation of Trade Unions lawmaker Kwok Wai-keung said he believed that there were more people waiting for public housing than the official number, since the figures were calculated from those who have already been allocated housing.

“Regardless of the increase in the public housing supply, the number will only rise,” he said.

He said the government should increase the ratio of public to private housing supply from 6:4 to 7:3: “The government must have clear supply figures so it can aim for a goal.” he said.

He also suggested that the government should build more transitional housing and provide subsidies to people who rent subdivided flats.


Kris Cheng

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.