RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY | Staff Reporter, Hong Kong

Waiting time for public housing hits 18-year high

It takes residents five years and three months to be allocated a flat.

The average waiting time for public housing in Hong Kong has hit its highest point in 18 years with residents forced to wait for five years and three months before they can be allocated a flat, according to official statistics.

This represents an increase of two months as of end-June.

Out of the 268,500 applicants in the past year, more than half (56%) were families whilst the rest 44% were single-non-elderly applicants who in turn face shorter average waiting times at two years and 10 months.

Also read: Land shortage exceeds government estimate of 1,200 hectares

The longest waiting time for public housing was six years and six months in 1998, reports South China Morning Post.

Authorities have since pledged to slash the waiting time to three years but the supply-demand imbalance is proving to be a significant roadblock.

An estimated 74,700 public rental housing units will be launched in the next five years from 2017-2018 to 2021-2022, according to a previous government statement. However, heated demand from residents unable to buy or rent a private flat in the world’s most expensive property market turn to public housing instead, further aggravating the queuing time.

Also read: Tight squeeze: Demand for nano flats doubles in the first eight months of 2018

“Despite the continued increase in new PRH units, the pace of increase is not fast enough to absorb the cumulative PRH demand over the years, hence prolonging the waiting time of PRH applicants,” the spokesperson added.

An average resident who earns $50,000 in annual income would need around $900,000 to purchase a home, according to annual Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey, which puts the median house prices divided by annual median household income at 18.1.

Photo from WiNG - Own work, CC BY 3.0

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