Housing Policy Research
“Housing policy reform that accommodates possibilities.”
Behind the world most unaffordable housing prices lies a housing policy unhinged from present needs.
The new generation’s pursuit of an autonomous way of living and the values of equality have always been reduced to a desperate need for housing. Capitalizing on this oversimplified conclusion, the authority works hand in hand with private developers by relaxing property mortgage leverages, pushing demands for private properties, creating an alleged shortage in housing units, and providing a tailor-made land development application pathway for developers. Coupled with these illusory solutions to housing shorting are the many obvious loopholes in housing taxation which encourage speculation. In view of these symptoms, it should not be an ungrounded accusation to suggest tunnelling between public finances and property developers.
Stamp duty and revenue from land sales constitute a significant part of the government’s income. Worse still, the resultant high housing prices have become a means to accumulate vested interest and repay political benefits. It seems that the de-facto “deep-seated problems” lie in such deep-rooted system and layers of vested interest. This accounts for why that “the government has a role to play in helping citizens of Hong Kong” has long been seen as hollow political rhetoric.
By continuously sorting out and analysing data in property markets, social statistics, official documents, academic articles, media reports, industrial reports, and ownership structures, we hope to cultivate research reports based on rich primary data. We will continue exposing the devil in the details in the newly announced housing policies, and continue giving feasible suggestions with an advocacy of an equal and reasonable housing policy.
In the coming year, we hope to continue digging into Hong Kong’s housing crisis through the following research:
- Establish a database of housing policy – establish a database to serve as a foothold for the discussions of housing policies through collaborative workshops, purchase of official data and various records searching, online data mining etc.
- Open up new housing-related issues – delve into issues of pseudo-first-time-homebuyers, tax evasion through equity transfers, supply of private housing units, private redevelopment projects, youth housing etc.; evaluating their status quo, looking for solutions, and plugging loopholes.
- Follow up on latest development in housing policies – scrutinize policies such as “vacancy tax on first-hand residential properties”, “Green Form Subsidised Home Ownership Scheme”, “Starter Home Scheme”, “Transitional Housing”, “Youth Hostels”; predict the development of housing policy.
- Envision a course of housing policy reforms – reimagine the role of public housing, standards for the size of housing units, definition of “affordable housing”, loopholes in housing taxes, and various policy advocacy suggestions.
Exposed speculators who avoid taxes by means of “equity transfer” amounting to to nearly $10 billion, rendering the government’s measures useless
Performed studies on the issue of vacant properties, conducting statistical research on the Urban Renewal Authority’s project on12 Soy Street and on aging buildings in Whampoa Street, Hung Hom
Gathered 100 documents on alternative housing project proposals, which are possible development models for Hong Kong in the future
Future Research Goals
Examine the efficiency and potential problems of the “Starter Home” pilot scheme, and to study the policy framework of the “Starter Home First” doctrine
Investigate overcrowding in private properties, and to discuss the feasibility of implementing a minimum-living-space-per-person standard
Investigate the historical development of alternative housing project proposals, exploring future possibilities for subsidized housing
Investigate the geographical distribution of sub-divided flats and to investigate the private interests behind this industry