Hong Kong’s housing shortage a priority for new "patriots only" govt.

22 Sep 2021

Resolving the housing shortage and increasing land supply will be given priority under the new "patriots only" political system imposed by Beijing, according to Chief Executive Carrie Lam.

Hong Kong held its first vote on Sunday since China revamped Hong Kong’s electoral system to ensure only those loyal to Beijing run the city, Reuters reports.

The overhaul reduced the tycoon’s influence in the 1,500-strong committee that chooses Hong Kong's China-backed chief executive.

Lam stated: "After improving the election system, government efficiency can increase. Once efficiency is raised, of course it will want to solve people's problems," she said, referring to border reopening in the short term and housing issues over the longer term.

However, according to Raymond Cheng, head of Hong Kong research at CGS-CIMB Securities, there is investor concern that Beijing will ask Hong Kong to introduce price caps or home purchase restrictions such as recent regulations imposed in mainland China.

But "adopting those China housing policies in Hong Kong is unlikely," Cheng stated.

Large property companies have made the most of a land auction system that maintained tight supply and property prices among the highest in the world.

Beijing has in part blamed the conglomerates' "monopolistic behaviour" for Hong Kong’s housing issues, which it believes has driven unrest and led to 2019’s mass pro-democracy protests.

Lam went on to add that the principal factor behind the housing shortage was land supply and the government could use present legislation to reclaim land for public housing.

"I feel today (the developers) are very willing to cooperate with the Hong Kong government's policies. I hope this kind of public-private-partnership to solve social issues, after perfecting the electoral system, will yield more results,” she said.