Financial Secretary Paul Chan announced in his Budget adjustments to the computation of the ad valorem stamp duty payable for the sale and purchase or transfer of residential and non-residential properties with effect from today.
In his speech, Mr Chan pointed out that more than 90% of residential property buyers last year were first-time buyers.
Having considered that no adjustments have been made to the value bands of the property stamp duty since 2010, he decided to make adjustments in this regard with the aim of easing the burden on ordinary families of purchasing their first residential properties, particularly small and medium units.
It is anticipated that such a measure will benefit 37,000 buyers and cost the Government approximately $1.9 billion per year.
The Financial Secretary also stressed that the current demand-side management measures for residential properties will remain unchanged.
The 2023-24 Land Sale Programme will cover a total of 12 residential sites. Together with railway property development, private development and redevelopment projects as well as the Urban Renewal Authority’s projects, the potential land supply for the whole year is expected to have a capacity of about 20,550 flats, around 60% more than the annual demand of 12,900 units projected in the Long Term Housing Strategy.
In addition, three commercial sites and three industrial sites will be put up for sale, providing about 200,000 sq m of commercial floor area and 170,000 sq m of industrial floor area respectively.
Mr Chan said: “The Government’s effort to expedite land creation has yielded remarkable results.
“We will secure land of a scale nearly double that of the previous five-year period for the production of no less than 72,000 private housing units in the coming five years, and make the land available to the market through the land sale programmes and railway property developments.
“Among such land, nearly 60% comes from new development areas or new town extensions, and another 40% from other districts under the government land sale programmes and railway property developments.”
The Government identified sufficient land for the provision of about 360,000 public housing units, around 20% higher than the supply target in the Long Term Housing Strategy, which will be able to meet the demand for about 300,000 public housing units in the next 10 years.
It also selected eight sites for the construction of light public housing in order to fill the short-term gap of public housing supply and improve the living conditions of people staying in inadequate housing.
As at the end of 2022, about 7,000 transitional housing units have been put into service. It is expected that about 14,000 additional units will be coming on stream in the next two years.
On private housing, it is estimated that the completion of private residential units will average over 19,000 units annually in the five years from this year onwards. The potential supply of first-hand private residential units for the next three to four years is expected to remain at a relatively high level of about 105,000 units.
Northern Metropolis & artificial islands
Further to the establishment of a steering committee and an advisory committee, the finance chief stated that the Government is making preparations for setting up a Northern Metropolis Co-ordination Office to take forward related work.
It has also formed a task force with relevant Mainland authorities to strengthen communication and collaboration on matters related to the development of the Northern Metropolis.
Regarding San Tin Technopole, the Government will start a consultation in the second quarter on the development proposals and land use planning of the project, which covers 150 hectares of new land for innovation and technology (I&T) use. The site formation works of the first batch of this new land will begin in 2024.
Mr Chan added that the Government has put forth preliminary proposals on the scope of reclamation, land use, the transport infrastructure network and financial arrangements of the Kau Yi Chau Artificial Islands, while the relevant public engagement activities have been launched.
After finalising a more detailed planning and design concept, the Government will contemplate appropriate financial arrangements for the project, examine various financing options and their economic benefits, and explore the optimal package with the community.
The Government has earmarked $30 million for the Development Bureau to conduct a study on establishing the Building Testing & Research Institute and carry out related planning and preliminary design, Mr Chan announced.
Apart from research and development (R&D) activities for innovative materials, construction methods and technologies, the centre will also devise standards, conduct testing and provide accreditation to spearhead innovation in the construction industry and attract R&D talent to the city.
In addition, the centre will capitalise on Hong Kong’s unique advantages to provide a platform for the country’s construction standards and related products to align with those in the international market.
Another $30 million has been earmarked for conducting a study on the construction of the first advanced construction industry building at a site of about three hectares in Tsing Yi. The Government plans to provide space for operators to set up steel reinforcement bar prefabrication yards, processing sites for multi‑trade integrated mechanical, electrical and plumbing as well as other advanced manufacturing yards in the building.
Furthermore, the Financial Secretary said the Government has reserved $15 million for studying and putting in place measures to strengthen the supply chain of the modular integrated construction (MiC) modules, covering areas such as the manufacturing, transportation, storage and accreditation of the modules.
It will also explore the provision of manufacturing and storage sites in the Northern Metropolis as well as ways to enhance collaboration with the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area and optimise the MiC supply chain.