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Legal Update

2013 Policy Address - Housing and Land Supply: Summary and Comments

16 January 2013
Mayer Brown JSM Legal Update

The Chief Executive, Mr. C.Y. Leung, presented his first Policy Address to the Legislative Council on 16 January 2013.

The Chief Executive used an extensive part (paragraphs 49 to 91) of the Policy Address to lay out the short, medium and long term strategy to deal with Hong Kong's housing and land problems. Below is a brief summary of those measures and policies.

4 Guiding Principles:

  • To assist grassroots families to secure public housing.
  • To assist the public in choosing suitable accommodation according to what people can afford and what is suitable for their circumstances.
  • To provide subsidised home ownership flats on top of public rental housing (PRH).
  • To maintain the healthy and steady development of the private market, with priority to meet the needs of Hong Kong Permanent Residents.

7 measures are proposed to increase supply of subsidised housing in the short to medium term:

  • The target total supply of PRH is at least 100,000 units over the 5 years starting from 2018.
  • Review and expedite construction of public housing flats.
  • Set aside a site in Sha Tin for Hong Kong Housing Society to develop a subsidised housing project. Another site in Sha Tau Kok will also be allocated for rental housing development. Together the two sites will provide about 1,000 units.
  • Examine all projects in the pipeline and increase the plot ratio as appropriate.
  • Combat the abuse of PRH resources. Together with the new flats completed, over 22,000 PRH flats will be available for allocation per year.
  • 2,100 new home ownership scheme (HOS) flats will be offered for pre-sale next year.
  • 4 pieces of land originally earmarked for the "My Home Purchase Plan" will be used for new HOS development.

10 measures are proposed to increase supply of housing land in the short to medium term:

  • 36 sites, including Government Institution and Community (GIC) sites and other Government sites with an area measuring 27 hectares in total, after going through town planning procedures, would be used for housing development, providing about 11,900 residential flats.
  • 13 sites in Green Belt areas, measuring 57 hectares in total, which are devegetated, deserted or formed will be rezoned to residential use to provide some 23,000 units.
  • In reviewing industrial land, a total of 60 hectares can be released for non-industrial uses, providing about 20,000 units.
  • Appropriately increase the development density of unleased or unallocated residential sites.
  • Where the original intended use is no longer required, convert the land for housing development or other uses that meet the more pressing needs in the community as soon as possible.
  • Actively consider relaxing or lifting the moratorium, being the administrative measure currently in force to restrict the sale of new land or modification to lease in Pok Fu Lam and the Mid-Levels.
  • Take forward the planning for residential development at Kam Tin South West Rail Kam Sheung Road Station and Pat Heung Maintenance Depot, with land of about 33 hectares in total, estimated to provide about 8,700 flats. In addition, engineering studies will be conducted for the adjoining areas totalling about 110 hectares, to identify land for public and private housing development.
  • In the coming 4 years, Urban Renewal Authority will supply approximately a total of 4.9 hectares of land to provide about 4,700 flats.
  • Over the past 3 years, the Town Planning Board has approved many planning applications for residential development estimated to provide over 45,000 flats.
  • Expedite 4 development projects, including the former Diamond Hill Squatter Areas and former Cha Kwo Ling Kaolin Mine, to provide about 27 hectares of residential land for the construction of about 15,000 public and private residential units.

7 measures are proposed for long-term land supply (mainly in New Territories):

  • North East New Territories New Development Areas
  • Hung Shui Kiu New Development Area
  • Developing New Territories North
  • Reviewing deserted agricultural land in North District and Yuen Long
  • Developing Lantau Island
  • Reclamation on an appropriate scale outside Victoria Harbour
  • Exploring feasibility of rock caverns and underground space development

3 measures are mentioned to increase supply of more commercial land:

  • To "energise" Kowloon East as core business district by considering to relocate existing Government facilities in the two action areas of Kowloon East.
  • To continue the development of the Kai Tak Development Area, with the target that the first berth and termination building of the Kai Tak Cruise Terminal will come into operation in mid-2013 and the PRH estates be ready for occupation in phases in 2013.
  • To develop the former runway tip in the Kai Tak Development Area into a tourism and entertainment hub by setting up a recreational landmark known as "Kai Tak Fantasy".

To continue the policy to revitalise industrial buildings

  • To relax certain restrictions on wholesale conversation including allowing owners to recover the amount of gross floor area loss due to alteration of building structure by making minor changes on the outside of the existing building frames under specific conditions.

To set up a dedicated statutory Harbourfront Authority

  • To develop the Victoria harbourfront in a holistic manner with an innovative mindset and a more flexible management approach.

To review the policy on heritage conservation

  • To review the policy on the conservation of privately-owned historic buildings by formulating a set of more detailed mechanisms and criteria for determining the extent to which and the means by which public resources can be used for the conservation of privately-owned historic buildings.

For inquiries related to this Legal Update, please contact Alan Yip or your usual contacts with our firm.

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