2015 Policy Address, Uphold the Rule of Law, Seize the Opportunities, Make the Right Choices, Pursue Democracy, Boost the Economy, Improve People's Livelihood
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Policy Address


70.       There is a serious mismatch between the supply of land and the needs of our society.  The short supply of land and housing has led to rising property prices and rents.

71.       High property prices and rents have prevented many young people from forming a family or starting their own business.  This has also resulted in cramped living space for society as a whole and insufficient space for social welfare facilities such as kindergartens, elderly homes and residential care homes for persons with disabilities.  We have an ever longer PRH waiting list, and an increasing number of people have seen their living environment deteriorate.  Some have no alternative but to live in subdivided units in industrial buildings.  Small and medium-sized enterprises face greater operating difficulties while overseas investors are disheartened by the difficulty in establishing a business base in Hong Kong.  The root of many social and economic problems in Hong Kong lies in the shortage of land for development.

72.       What Hong Kong lacks is not land, but land that is developable.  The difference lies in the need for land planning and development.  The process of land planning and development takes time.  Hong Kong experienced a long period of economic downturn and saw a declining property market after the Asian financial crisis.  The Government scaled back the speed and scope of our planning and development of land, and did not foresee the huge demand for developable land as a result of the eventual economic recovery.  A substantial amount of land was zoned for non-development uses such as country parks to improve the environment.  We also lowered the development intensity of land newly planned for development.  These are causes of the serious shortage of housing supply that we have been facing in recent years.

73.       The consultation process for land planning and development has become drawn out with increasing controversies and uncertainties, including the uncertainties and time loss brought about by judicial reviews.

74.       We have to take into consideration more and more factors such as the impact on traffic, environment, conservation and even air ventilation in the planning process.  As a result, the supply of developable land has decreased or decelerated.  Society as a whole must make hard choices.

75.       Planning must reflect the overall interests of Hong Kong and heed the priorities of society's needs.  We should not only consider the well-being of individual areas in planning and development, but also the overall housing supply and demand of Hong Kong as a whole.  We cannot have our cake and eat it.  If we opt for a lower development intensity, traffic flow will be smoother and the living environment will be nicer.  However, the overall housing supply will be lower, which will lengthen the waiting time for PRH and push up property prices and rents.  Town planning and land supply should not cater only for the people who can afford expensive properties, but also for those facing difficulties finding a home due to inadequate supply.  At present, the most pressing concern is to ensure adequate and speedy land supply for development.  Increasing and expediting land supply is the fundamental solution to resolve the land and housing problems of Hong Kong.



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