The Hong Kong government will launch a new Light Public Housing (LPH) scheme, promising 30,000 units in the coming five years. Chief Executive John Lee made the announcement in his first Policy Address on Wednesday.

These units will feature basic utilities similar to traditional public housing, but the rent will be lower than traditional public housing in the same district, Lee said. The plan will increase Hong Kong’s public housing supply by 25 per cent, with an aim to reduce waiting times to 4.5 years within four years, said Lee.

Lion Rock housing
Hong Kong housing. Photo: GovHK,

The scheme is designed to alleviate the city’s worsening housing problem. The average waiting time for applicants on the public rental housing list was six years as of June 2022, according to the Housing Authority.

Government sources told HKFP that construction was expected to begin on the first 1,000 LPH units in 2023, with completion slated for the following year. They will be prefabricated and similar in size and layout to traditional public housing units, but the rental cost would be 90 per cent of public housing in the same area.

Those who have been on the waiting list for traditional public housing for more than three years will be able to apply for earlier allocation, and family applicants will be prioritised, the chief executive said. Tenants of the new LPH units would also retain their position in the queue for traditional public housing, suggesting that it was not seen as a long-term solution to Hong Kong’s affordable housing woes.

During a press conference on Wednesday afternoon, Lee said that he hoped the Light Public Housing units could be used for five years. Tenants in existing transitional housing can only occupy units for a fixed-term, often of two years.

Transitional housing
Members of the Legislative Council Subcommittee on Issues Relating to the Improvement of Living Conditions of the Grass-roots Tenants visit a transitional housing in Yuen Long in June 2022. Photo: GovHK.

Lee said a new index to reflect the composite waiting time for both LPH and traditional public housing would be launched. A pilot scheme will also be introduced to encourage private developers to take part in building “subsidised sale flats,” said Lee.

The composite index aimed to showcase the government’s determination in increasing housing supply and shortening waiting times, the sources said.

Advance Allocation Scheme

An advanced allocation scheme for traditional public rental housing will also be launched, Lee said.

The plan, first mentioned in Lee’s election manifesto, would allow people to move into public housing complexes after one or more buildings in a project are completed, but before other facilities are finished. It is expected to bring online around 12,000 units over the next five years.

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Candice is a reporter at Hong Kong Free Press. She previously worked as a researcher at a local think tank. She has a BSocSc in Politics and International Relations from the University of Manchester and a MSc in International Political Economy from London School of Economics.