Developers steam ahead despite financial secretary’s concern
Yesterday, Financial Secretary John Tsang said that he was concerned that the housing market was not growing in line with Hong Kong’s economic fundamentals. Over the first eight months of the year, housing prices rose by an average of 2 percent each month despite the fact that the economy has been slowing. Tsang said that the government was ready to step in to stabilize the market and specified that the Hong Kong Monetary Authority was ready to limit credit growth. He aired his concerns as Hong Kong developers were reporting massive interest in new projects. In particular, one 2,580-unit development in Yuen Long has attracted over 70,000 visitors to its show flats since Friday. Instead of pushing down prices, the opening of these new developments is corresponding with price increases as developers benefit from hot money flows into Hong Kong in the wake of a new round of quantitative easing in the US.
Michael Choi: Kai Tak needs housing more than a stadium
Recent government proposals that housing might replace the stadium at Kai Tak have upset sports enthusiasts. However, according to Choi Ngai-min, a member of the Long Term Housing Strategy Steering Committee, Kai Tak needs additional housing more than it needs the stadium that is included in the current development plan. If houses were built on the site in place of the stadium, 25,000 new units could be added to the market, he said. However, LegCo member Ma Feng-kwok believes that the government should first guarantee that the quality of any new stadium site would not be worse than the current site. The government should also ensure that the stadium is built on the same scale and that the completion date is not pushed back.
DAB softens its tone on senior subsidy
This Friday, the government plans to submit an application for a living subsidy for seniors to the LegCo Finance Committee. Legislators from the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong (DAB) had earlier threatened not to support the subsidy. However, DAB Chairman Tam Yiu-chung said yesterday that the party had not yet made a final decision on how it would vote. Matthew Cheung, Secretary for Labour and Welfare, is still seeking support for the subsidy among DAB legislators. Meanwhile, 23 pan-democrats have signed a petition that demands that the government set up a universal pension plan.