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Budget Speech


Increasing Residential Land

100.    Regarding land supply for private housing, the Government's aim is to maintain on average the provision of land for building about 20 000 residential units each year.  The Government will continue to increase land supply in the coming year.  In the 2013-14 Land Sale Programme, we shall include 46 residential sites, which is capable of providing about 13 600 units in total.  Amongst these sites, 28 are new sites.  We shall continue the practice of announcing government-initiated land sale arrangements in advance on a quarterly basis, and exercise flexibility in supplying housing land in the light of market demand.  In the coming year, all the major sources of land supply for private housing together, which include the Government's Land Sale Programme, railway property development projects, projects of the Urban Renewal Authority, and lease modifications/land exchanges or other private developments, will provide land capable of building some 25 800 private residential flats.  The Secretary for Development will announce the Land Sale Programme for the coming year tomorrow.

101.    On public housing, we have provided the Housing Authority with adequate land to build 79 000 public rental housing flats within five years from 2012-13, and about 17 000 Home Ownership Scheme flats within four years from 2016-17.

Supply of Private Residential Flats in Short Term

102.    I announced two demand-side management measures last Friday in a bid to cool down the overheated property market.  I will not repeat the details of the measures today.  Increasing supply is the key to solving the housing problem.  In the next three to four years, it is estimated that a total of 67 000 first-hand units would come onto the private residential property market, the highest since September 2007.  These include 4 000 unsold units in completed projects, 48 000 unsold units under construction, and 15 000 units to be constructed on disposed sites.

103.    As for the supply of private residential flats in 2013, I estimate that 24 000 first-hand units can be offered for sale this year, including 12 000 uncompleted units, for which we are speeding up the processing of their pre-sale consent applications, 8 000 uncompleted units ready for pre-sale and 4 000 unsold units in completed projects.

104.    Developers usually adjust the pace of sales according to market appetite, and may not put all the 24 000 flats on the market this year.  However, we are sure that the supply of first-hand units has seen a rebound.  As the external economic environment remains volatile, I would like to remind people once again that interest rates are susceptible to various external factors and will resume an upturn cycle in the future.  Before making a home purchase decision, people should assess their ability to afford the property, particularly whether family income can support mortgage payments if mortgage rates are to revert to a normal level.



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