Former Chief of Statistics, Mr Joseph Ho, 3% Country Parks to build housing prices

Former Chief of Statistics, Mr Joseph Ho, 3% Country Parks to build housing prices

The Chief Executive, Mrs Lam, published the “Policy Report" on the 16th of this month to relax the insurance market. In the past two weeks, the property price has risen steadily, or the adjustment period has been terminated early. The problem of “high property prices and difficulty in getting on the train" has once again become a hot topic in the city. The former Director of the Hong Kong Government (1992-2005) and the visiting professor of the Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science of the University of Hong Kong, He Yongzhen, made a special offer during the interview. He said that the demand for housing in Hong Kong was strong but the supply was far from sufficient to lead to high property prices. He therefore suggested that the Government should substantially increase the supply of land, including the rezoning of about 3% of the country parks for residential development.

During his tenure as Director of the Statistics Department of the Hong Kong Government from 1992 to 2005, He Yongzhen regularly held a press conference to report to the public on economic and social data related to people’s livelihood such as census, unemployment rate and consumer price index (CPI). The company has always followed strict professional ethics, and the poor data will be reported truthfully. It is hoped that “decision-making government colleagues can make correct decisions on the true situation reflected by the data." If a policy error occurs, it can be corrected as soon as possible.

Demand for home ownership should increase supply to meet the problem of high property prices in Hong Kong. He Yongzhen analyzed because demand is hot and supply is far from sufficient. He explained that apart from about 180 000 civil servants, there are about 180 000 wage earners working in semi-official organisations. Their wages are basically rising every year with inflation, seniority and rank. Their work is relatively stable even if they are At the current level of property prices, there should also be the ability to buy a home.

The last session of the Government Research Country Park, the boundary of the land, denies that the number of people aged 65 and over in the population is expected to increase by 3 to 4 percentage points every five years after 2015. For example, the ratio has been 14 in 2015. From % to 15%, it increased to 17.7% in 2019. This is due to the improvement of quality of life and the sound medical system. This is of course a good thing. In addition, he pointed out that in recent years, the annual quota of 54,750 for one-way permits has probably used 75% to 80%. %, that is, about 40,000 mainlanders come to settle in Hong Kong each year, which will also increase housing demand. The government should increase supply to meet demand.

In fact, the Government’s “Hong Kong 2030+: Planning Vision and Strategy for 2030″ study has already pointed out that Hong Kong lacks 1,200 hectares of land in the long run. I believe many Hong Kong people agree that they should increase their supply of housing. The problem is how to smash the ground. The Land Supply Task Force submitted a report to the Government at the end of last year. The development and utilization of the private land reserve in the New Territories was the most supported option for the respondents. The development of the border areas of the country parks was relatively unsupported. The Secretary for Development, Mr Wong Wai-lun, said in February that, in view of the fact that the option to develop the border areas of the country parks was not supported by the majority of the public, it was declared that it would not seek to change the use of the border areas of the country parks under the ecological and legal disputes.

Country parks cover an area of ​​over 400 square kilometers, accounting for 40% of the total area of ​​Hong Kong

Mr Ho stressed that if the majority of the community in Hong Kong agreed that the land supply should be substantially increased, the development of country parks and related border land should not be negated. It is hoped that Hong Kong people will have more accurate data and then consider it. Among them, he quoted the Planning Department as saying that only 24.4% of the total land area of ​​1111 square kilometers was built land, while residential houses accounted for only 6.9%, while forest land, shrubs and grassland accounted for 24.9% and 23.7% respectively. And the majority of the latter three are allocated for the use of country parks. The report of the Lands Committee also pointed out that there are currently 24 country parks in Hong Kong, representing about 40% of the total land area of ​​Hong Kong. He Yongkun estimates that the land that can be included in the border areas of country parks will account for 1% to 2% of the total land area of ​​Hong Kong.

The Lands Committee estimates that the actual long-term land shortage in Hong Kong should be well above 1200 hectares and has been described in 1,500 standard football fields (0.8 hectares each). He Yongkun analyzed that 1200 hectares is certainly not a small number. However, the public also needs to know clearly that the conversion between different statistical calibers is equivalent to 100 hectares per square kilometre. 1200 hectares is equal to 12 square kilometres, which is roughly equal to the total land area of ​​Hong Kong. 1%; with a total of more than 400 square kilometres in 24 country parks in Hong Kong, less than 3% of the country parks can be developed to create 1,200 hectares of development land; if most of the country parks are converted to land, For development purposes, it can also meet the land acquisition target of 1,200 hectares.

“Why don’t the big risotto that can be cooked in the rice cooker not eat, change the rice bowl of others to compete with people?" He explained that the biggest limitation is whether the development of the New Territories brownfield or agricultural land is that most of its ownership is held by private individuals. Yes, “Is the owner willing to hand over? At what price will it be handed over?" are two major problems.

Mr Ho said that as long as the Hong Kong Government implements the development of some country parks or their border areas, real estate developers will know that the future land supply will increase substantially. The latter will speed up the land premium for agricultural land, or speed up the development of housing by public-private partnership. The problem is that the Government has insufficient land reserves. The developers have to convert the agricultural land to develop residential uses in the form of “toothpaste". As long as this situation is changed, the problem of high property prices in Hong Kong will be raised. Can be solved."

The brownfield farmland is mostly private and it is difficult to grow.

Of course, the development of country parks is quite difficult. Since the Hong Kong Government promulgated the Country Parks Ordinance in 1976, the country parks have obtained statutory status and become protected natural green areas. The Land Group report mentioned that most of the country parks are located in remote suburbs, of which about 55% are catchment areas, including a large number of steep hillsides, woodlands, valleys and other natural landforms and ecologically valuable natural environments. Development of infrastructure such as roads, water supply and sewerage systems.