19 June 1996

Mrs. Vivian Kam
Chief Assistant Secretary (1) 2

Dear Mrs. Kam,

In preparation for the meeting of the LegCo Panel on Housing on 11 July 1996, I would like to raise the following questions:

II Formulation of housing policy for immigrants from China

1. If new immigrants have been on the Waiting List ( i.e. for two or three persons units) for four years, and a relative arrives from China, therefore increasing the members of that household, will they be required to wait longer for housing allocation? If so, what is the implication of this?

2.1 The current policy requires new immigrants to satisfy the requirement of seven years' residence in Hong Kong in order to be allocated with public housing, will this policy be reviewed? If so, when will this be done?

2.2 What is the proportion of family members in a newly immigrated household which have to satisfy the residence requirement before public housing is allocated? Will the Housing Department review this requirement? (For instance only half of the family members have to satisfy the residence requirement when the household is deemed to be eligible for housing allocation.)

3.1 Under what circumstances will the Housing Department allow no distinction between head of a household and member of a household for new immigrants sharing a unit? Should the families not be related in any way? How is relation defined?

3.2 What are the requirements for addition and splitting of household for this type of families?

3.3 If this type of families become overcrowded households, will the Housing Department solve the problem by splitting of household? Or will these unit- sharing families be arranged to move into a bigger unit?

4.1 How does the Housing Department determine who is to be the head of a household for unit shared by over one family? When asking the occupants who wanted to be the head of the household, will the Housing Department explain to them the respective rights and responsibilities of the head and members of a household?

4.2 What are the differences of the rights and responsibilities between the head and members of a household? Please elaborate.

4.3 Will the Housing Department consider allowing members of a household to apply for addition and splitting of household?

5. Will the Housing Department consider giving priority in transfer to overcrowded families of a unit shared by new immigrants?

6. Since the Housing Department has all the data of public housing applicants on the Waiting List, will the Housing Department provide us with the number of new immigrants on the Waiting List? If not, is it because the data is yet to be computerized? If so, when will it be computerized?

7. How many new immigrants ( new immigrants at the time of application) were allocated public housing last year? How many were allocated one-person units, shared units and units other than these? What is the average waiting time in years for these new immigrants to move into these types of units?

III Five-Year Comprehensive Redevelopment Programme (CRP)

1. What are the six factors to be considered when the Housing Department determines which public housing estates have the priority of redevelopment?

2. Will the Housing Department explain the operational significance of each of the factors? For instance, if priority for redevelopment is given according to the conditions of buildings, what conditions, for example the concrete strength, concrete spalling etc, should the buildings under before they are approved for redevelopment? Or is the presence of structural problem the sole consideration for redevelopment?

3. What proportion of CRP tenants with public housing need have been offered local rehousing in the last three years?

4. Is there any order of priority for the six factors? If so,will the Housing Department list out the established order according to their importance?

5. Has the Housing Department suggested a reduction in the building of HOS flats in the urban areas and building more public housing units in order to speed up the redevelopment programme?

6. CRP elderly tenants, after moving to the reception estates, often complain that the community facilities are not conveniently provided. Regarding this aspect, will the Housing Department consult the affected tenants on the design, facilities and market location etc. of the new housing estates?

7. Will the Housing Department actively consider to have the public housing redevelopment programme completed by 2001?

8. What are the circumstances and reasons for the continual deferral of the completion dates of the public housing redevelopment programme in the past? How can the Administration convince the public that the Housing Department will complete the entire programme by 2005?

9. Is it possible to provide details of the latest (May) announcement of CRP by the Housing Authority? (Please provide in table form.)

10. Is it possible for the Housing Authority to notify this Panel of any amendment to the CRP in the future?

IV Operation of the Land Development Corporation (LDC)

1. Has the LDC given up any development projects under planning because of the lack of capital?

2. Has the LDC indicated to the Government their wish to acquire certain lots for housing development purposes, but has been forced to compete for the piece of land with other private developers in open tender as the Government has not given them any favourable treatment?

3. What are the details of the Owners Participation Scheme in the redevelopment programme by the LDC? (For example, what are the conditions under this programme? Which redevelopment districts are under this programme? What is the current progress of the programme?)

4. How does the LDC ensure adequate transparency for public monitoring? Is it possible to elaborate on the relevant measures?

5. How does the LDC ensure that the right of knowledge of the redevelopment tenants is safeguarded? For example, what information will be released to the affected tenants when the LDC has expressed their wish of redeveloping a certain district? When will the tenants receive the information? Is it possible to notify this Panel about the relevant information (specify what kind of information is required to be released at different stage)?

6. Does the LDC consider it adequate for the Government to allocate two hectares of land to the Housing Society in support of the former's redevelopment programme? If not, how much more land will the LDC suggest for allocation to the Housing Society by the Administration?

7. How much land will the LDC request from the Administration for use as linked sites?

8. Will the LDC use the linked sites only or mainly for residential development?

9. Is it possible to list out the LDC's redevelopment programme for the next five years?

10. Has any assessment or planning been made by the LDC on the proportion of each year's redevelopment project to the overall private housing redevelopment programme for the next five years?

11. What are the advantages and disadvantages for the Housing Society to rehouse those affected tenants of LDC redevelopment programme? Will the LDC consider assuming the full responsibility of rehousing the tenants?

12. Is it possible to assess the implication of ‘Urban Renewal in Hong Kong' released in mid-June 1996 on the operation and redevelopment programme of the LDC? How serious is the implication?

V Abuse of Property Sales System

1. Will the Administration provide this Panel with the number of property transactions, vacancy rates of new buildings, property price index and rates of price increase in the past four quarters? ( Will the answers be given in chart form?)

2. Is it possible to advise this Panel how many property transactions in each of the past four quarters involve sales and purchases by companies? What are the proportions of these transactions to the total number of property transactions in each quarter?

3. How does the Administration assess the seriousness of speculative buying and selling of uncompleted flats through shell companies ( i.e. the approximate number of these transactions in each quarter) and the implication of these activities on the rate of property price increase?

4. Is the Administration prepared to adopt measures to curb speculative activities in property market by shell companies? If so, will an introduction of these measures be provided?

Chong Yiu-kwong (signed)
for Hon LEE Wing-tat
Chairman, LegCo Panel on Housing


19 June 1996

Mrs. Vivian Kam
Chief Assistant Secretary (1) 2

Dear Mrs. Kam,

In preparation for the special meeting of the LegCo Panel on Housing on 24 June 1996, would you please provide us with answers for the sixteen questions listed in the annex ( No. 1 –15 and No. 17). If answers cannot be given before the aforesaid meeting, will they be available before the next meeting ( July meeting)?

The questions contained in the annex were in fact submitted on 21 January 1996. They have not been answered perhaps due to the fact that the Steering Group on Long Term Housing Strategy has not commenced its discussion. I, however, refuse to accept this being the reason of not releasing information to this Panel. I also object to the practice of informing the Panel only after discussion has been concluded by the Steering Group. I am looking forward to an early reply to my questions enclosed.

Chong Yiu -kwong (signed)
for Hon LEE Wing-tat
Chairman, LegCo Panel on Housing

Encl. A letter enquiring about the Long Term Housing Strategy, dated 21 January 1996.


21 January 1996

Ms Sarah YUEN
SAS (P) 1


In preparation for the meeting of the LegCo Panel on Housing on 5 February 1996, I would like to raise the following questions. I would be grateful if you would refer them to the Housing Branch and urge the Administration to give a prompt reply in writing. Moreover, please convey to the Housing Branch my request for sending the reply to members of the Steering Group for Long Term Housing Strategy as well for their reference.

Long Term Housing Strategy A Policy Statement published in April 1987

1. Is a detailed paper or report available internally within the Government to offer elaboration and elucidation on the "Long Term Housing Strategy A Policy Statement" published in 1987? If so, will the paper or report be submitted to the Legislative Council to facilitate our review?

2. Is the objective of "ensuring that adequate housing at an affordable price or rent is available to all households" as stated in paragraph 5(a) of the "Long Term Housing Strategy A Policy Statement" (hereinafter called "the Statement") published in 1987 regarded as the prime objective of the Government?

3. Paragraph 6 of the Statement states that about 960000 new housing units would be needed to satisfy all demand from 1986 to 2001. In its review at a later stage, did the Government identify any deviation in its projection? Is the deviation an underestimation or overestimation of the actual demand? What are the reasons for having such a deviation in its projection of the housing demand?

4. Paragraph 7 of the Statement states that the distribution of the total demand among the three demand categories of public rental, assisted home purchase and private sector (unassisted) flat purchase would depend on three factors as follows :

  1. the household income;
  2. the income eligibility limits for public housing; and
  3. the level and timing of housing supply.

In its subsequent review, did the Government identify any other factors that would affect the demand of various kinds of housing? If so, what are these other factors?

5. Paragraph 8(b) of the Statement indicates that by 1996 / 97, the housing supply would have substantially met the outstanding demand for Public Rental Housing (PRH) from the waiting list. This, by all means, is the biggest misestimation made in the Long Term Housing Strategy drawn up in 1987. In 1996 / 97, there are, in reality, still 150000 households on the waiting list. Even if the situation is assessed in accordance with the estimation of the effective demand carried out by the Housing Branch, the number of households waiting for allocation of PRH still amounts to 80000. Has the Housing Branch conducted any review on such a serious misestimation? Will the report of the review be submitted to the Legislative Council for reference?

6. It is concluded in paragraph 8 of the Statement that "there is likely to be an over-provision of Public Rental Housing, an under-provision of Home Ownership Scheme / Private Sector Participation Scheme flats and a under-utilisation of the private sector's resources". Does the conclusion still stand?

7. It is stated in paragraph 26 of the Statement that production by the private sector would have to average 30000 flats a year. Please provide the number of flats produced by the private sector annually from 1987 / 88 to 1995 / 96. Has the average production by the private sector been able to attain the above target? If not, has the Housing Branch looked into the reasons? What are the reasons?

8. According to the information from the Development Committee of the Housing Authority, the production of housing flats tends to fall behind schedule. For example, there is a discrepancy of over 5000 flats between the forecasts made in June and September of 1994 on the housing production in 1998 / 99. What, in the Housing Branch's view, are the reasons leading to such discrepancy? What measure is available to ensure that flats are produced according to schedule?

2001 / 02 - 2005 / 06 Long Term Housing Strategy

9. It is learnt that the Government has asked the Planning Department to make assessment on the demand of public and private housing up to March 2006. Is it possible for the members of the Panel to be provided with the assessment report?

10. In general, the Housing Department assesses future housing demand on the basis of the following : (1)factors such as future population growth of Hong Kong and land supply, etc.; and (2) changes in housing policy, for example, the tightening / relaxing of the restriction on public housing income limit. In this connection,

  1. what hypotheses does the Government make on the (1) population; (2) property prices; and (3) economic development and other factors affecting housing demand of Hong Kong in drawing up the Long Term Housing Strategy (LTHS); what is the rationale for making such hypotheses;
  2. what will be the public housing demand for 2001 / 02 to 2005 / 06 estimated on the basis of various factors such as (1) population growth; (2) fluctuation in property prices; and (3) state of economic development, etc.;
  3. what will be the public housing demand under the following circumstances: (1) when the current eligibility for allocation of public rental housing is tightened / unchanged / relaxed; and (2) when the waiting time is lengthened / unchanged / shortened?

11. According to the estimation on housing demand for 2001 / 02 to 2005 / 06 made by the Housing Branch (HB), what will be the demand resulted from formation of families (including marriage and lawful immigration from China, etc.)? What will be the demand resulted from existing housing needs (i.e.., redevelopment of public and private housing, clearance of Temporary Housing Area and squatter area)?

12. What is the role played by the HB in the supply of private housing? If there is a significant shortfall in the production of private housing as opposed to the estimation made by the HB, what measures will the HB adopt?

13. According to the information provided to the Legislative Council by the HB, the total housing need calculated by the housing demand model should be discounted by a factor known as "accommodation generation rate". On what hypothesis is the "accommodation generation rate" determined?

14. In drawing up LTHS, what criteria will the HB adopt in determining the proportion of public and private housing?

15. How does the HB determine the public affordability on private housing and Home Ownership Scheme flats?

16. Composition of the Steering Group

At present, five of the ten members in the Steering Group are persons coming from the real estate and banking circles. How can the HB ensure that the interests of all parties are fully represented?

17. Timetable for the drawing up of LTHS

When will the Steering Group finish its work? When will public consultation begin and consultation documents be available? When will the LTHS be formulated?

LEE Wing-tat
Chairman, LegCo Panel on Housing

Last Updated on 20 Aug, 1998