Secretary for Housing confirms a 55% surge in recovered units as the government intensifies public housing recovery and renovation initiatives

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Winnie Ho

23rd May 2024 – (Hong Kong) Secretary for Housing Winnie Ho revealed that the government is intensifying its efforts to recover and reassign public housing units in Hong Kong. Ho announced that over 15,000 units were successfully reclaimed last year, marking a substantial 55% increase compared to the annual average of 10,000 units recovered in previous years. This surge in repossessions highlights the administration’s commitment to address the pressing housing shortage in the city.

Over the past three years, the average turnaround time for renovating vacant public housing units has been approximately 45 days, closely approaching the targeted 44-day timeframe. Notably, some units were refurbished in as little as 19 days. However, it should be noted that approximately 1% of the units exceeded the expected completion time, with the longest renovation period reaching 197 days.

Ho responded to inquiries from Legislative Council member Scott Leung regarding the government’s strategy for handling the increasing number of vacant units resulting from the purchase of subsidized housing. Ho stated that the Housing Department is currently reviewing and streamlining the processes and standards for renovating these vacant units to expedite the renovation projects. The department aims to conclude the review within this year.

Ho emphasised the significance of the substantial increase in recovered units, considering the various factors that contributed to this achievement. With the anticipation of more vacant units requiring renovation in the future, the Housing Department is actively evaluating the standards and simplifying the workflow for refurbishment to align with the targeted average of 44 days per unit.

Over the past three years, an average of approximately 1,360 households annually, who have successfully purchased Home Ownership Scheme (HOS) flats and Green Form Subsidised Home Ownership Scheme (GSH) flats, have applied for extensions to return their public housing units. One of the primary reasons for such extensions is the delay in completion of renovation works.