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Budget Speech

Residential Land

124.    Government promulgated the new Long Term Housing Strategy at the end of last year, setting the target for public housing supply at 290 000 units for the coming decade.  As the major provider of public housing in Hong Kong, HKHA cannot afford the expenditure to be incurred in the long run.

125.    The Housing Reserve I set up last December is to provide financial resources to meet the ten-year public housing supply target.  The initial injection is the investment returns generated in 2014, which amounted to $27.5 billion.  Further injections will be considered at an appropriate juncture.

126.    A total of 20 residential sites were put up for sale by Government in 2014-15, capable of providing 6 300 private residential units.  Taking into account the railway property development projects, the Urban Renewal Authority's projects and private redevelopment or development projects, the land supply has a capacity of producing 20 000 units.

127.    The 2015-16 Land Sale Programme will include 29 residential sites capable of providing 16 000 units in total.  Out of these sites, 16 are new ones.  Taking into account the housing land supply from different sources, I expect that a total of 19 000 units can be provided.  The Secretary for Development will announce tomorrow the Land Sale Programme for the coming financial year.

128.    To promote market circulation of subsidised housing, HKMC will consider launching a new Premium Loan Guarantee Scheme to help owners of subsidised sale flats pay the premium to HKHA or HKHS.  After settling the premium payment, owners will have greater flexibility in disposing of their flats, such as letting out or selling the flats in the open market.

129.    The property market has revived since April last year, with both flat prices and transactions showing renewed pick-up.  There has been a double-digit increase in the prices of small and medium-sized flats.  Meanwhile, the external environment is volatile.  The timing and pace of the US interest rate hike as well as the further monetary easing measures of the central banks of Eurozone and Japan could have significant impact on the local property market.  The public should be extra cautious when making decision on purchasing property, and carefully assess the potential risk they need to bear in case of a market downturn.  Government will continue to monitor the market conditions closely, and I will not hesitate to introduce measures when necessary, in order to maintain the healthy and stable development of the property market and safeguard the stability of our macroeconomic and financial systems.



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