Average wait for public housing rises to 6.1 years

The Housing Department said on Thursday the average waiting time for a public housing flat reached 6.1 years at the end of March – the longest since 1999.

That’s up from 6 years in the previous quarter.

And the average wait for elderly people living alone is 4.1 years, up from 4 years.

The department said the uptake was underpinned by a large number of applicants who had been waiting for a long time – before they were offered a unit during the first quarter this year, with several large-scale estates including Queens Hill Estate in Fanling as well as Hoi Tat Estate and Pak Tin Estate in Sham Shui Po beginning to take in residents.

There were about 147,500 general applications for public housing by the end of March, on top of 97,700 applications involving single adults under a points system.

The department added that around 6,000 applicants had been allocated public housing in the first quarter of 2022, including around 520 elderly people living alone.

Jenny Lee, a member of the Concerning Grassroots’ Housing Rights Alliance, believes the queue is getting longer because the government has not been able to build public housing units fast enough despite sufficient land.

She noted that the government had only built around 11,000 units in the 2020-2021 financial year, while its latest target is to build around 300,000 flats within the next 10 years.

“I think the Housing Authority can review why there is a great delay in building public housing, so the government can monitor the Housing Authority in a better way,” she said.

Lee added that the government could also alleviate the plight of those in need by allowing them to live in transitional housing longer, before they are offered a public housing unit.