Developer to build its own HOS-style flats: govt

Housing Secretary Frank Chan said he hopes more firms will join hands with the administration to try to boost housing supply after a developer announced plans to sell homes at discounted prices.

Chan said the government is in talks with the developer for it to build and manage flats on similar terms with subsidised housing under the Home Ownership Scheme (HOS).

On a Commercial Radio programme, Chan was asked about media reports that the developer had wanted the government to waive the land premium for such flats, but he did not disclose details.

“They have explained their idea and beliefs, and their non-profit role. They also said they’d follow the terms of our HOS to manage and run the project,” he said.

“For the government to build its HOS flats, it has to search for land. But in the short-term, we may not have sufficient land. Now, a private company approaches us and asks if they can use private land. It’s also a form of innovation. We’re talking about ‘shared wealth’, so it’s a good method.”

New World Development earlier announced the launch of a scheme to sell 300 subsidised homes at a discounted price for lower income groups.

Chan did not name the developer and admitted there were “difficulties” in the discussions, but said details of the negotiations cannot be disclosed until a decision is made.

“I’ll refrain from saying too much on this occasion, so there can be more room for discussion,” he said.

On a record number of families living in poor conditions, Chan said 15,000 to 20,000 transitional housing units would be made available in the next two to three years, which would hopefully help to reduce that number. But he also said it would be hard to come up with a timetable to achieve that.

The projected number of households living in subdivided flats and other cramped spaces stands at more than 127,000.

Chan also said he won’t rule out the possibility of the average wait for public housing topping six years, but he also called on people not to make speculation.

Currently the figure stands at a record of 5.9 years.
Last updated: 2021-12-09 HKT 17:16