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Abandoning the "first-hand building vacancy tax" is a lack of courage

2021-10-11T08:14:23.462Z

Last Saturday (October 9), the Chief Executive Carrie Lam attended a radio program to respond to the criticism of the "first-hand building vacancy tax" plan. She explained that after social discussions, she already felt that the “first-hand building vacancy tax” was



Last Saturday (October 9), Chief Executive Carrie Lam attended a radio program to respond to criticisms of the "first-hand building vacancy tax" plan.

She explained that after social discussions, the "first-hand vacancy tax" is not the "core issue" because many private developers sell "off-the-plan" in the morning before the completion of the building. In addition, she also agrees that some "high-end" houses are more "upscale". The type of housing needs to be "sold first at the same price." "So it is very difficult for you to design a set of laws." At that time, the discussion in the Legislative Council did not reach a consensus.


In June 2018, the government announced six new housing policy measures, one of which is the levy of "extra rates" on vacant first-hand private residential units.

By September 2019, in order to implement this measure, the Rating (Amendment) Bill 2019 will be gazetted. It is recommended to charge the rateable value of the “extra rates” to the initial “tail” units that have been vacant for one year. "However, after the first reading of the bill and the second reading debate, the establishment of the Bills Committee was delayed until May 2020, and the Bills Committee decided to terminate its work after two meetings. In November of the same year, the government further announced the withdrawal of the bill, resulting in " "First-hand building vacancy tax" will end in abortion.

Vacant first-hand properties increased

According to the first-hand market supply statistics of private housing by the Transport and Housing Bureau, the number of "commercial housing" units that had been completed but not yet sold at the time the policy was announced was about 9,000. In June this year, the number of such units had increased to about 12,000.

In addition, due to social unrest and the new crown epidemic, the first-hand property prices have been lowered after the news of related measures. However, according to the "Chinese Building Price Index" of the Data Science and Policy Research Course of the Chinese University of Hong Kong, June 2018 , January 2020 and September 2021, the first-hand property price index is 169.9, 144.8 and 169.6 respectively, which means that the first-hand property price has returned to the original level today.

The introduction of the first-hand residential vacancy tax may affect the speed of developers' launches.

(Profile picture)

In her concluding remarks at the question and answer session of the Chief Executive of the Legislative Council in July 2021, Carrie Lam said, "To thoroughly solve the problem of Hong Kong residents' "living"... What is needed is not a "trick" that adapts to the times, but a persistent determination to supply land. "And "the courage to not shake policy due to short-term economic fluctuations or property prices." She also reiterated this point in the policy address just released. However, she subsequently listed the plans to be submitted to the next Legislative Council. The legislative proposal did not see the "first-hand property vacancy tax" related bill, which undoubtedly raises doubts about the authorities' intention to "release" the first-hand property market completely.

Legislative difficulties do not hinder social consensus

More ironically, Mak Meijuan, a member of the Federation of Trade Unions, twice asked the question of "first-hand building vacancy tax" in the Q&A meeting three months ago. Carrie Lam first tried to excuse the irrelevant "Taxation Issues in the World". To evade, but then at least I am willing to admit, "It's not that it can't be raised in the future... I'm just telling you or all members realistically, what can be done for the rest of the term in the future, and what I have to find someone to do in the next term." However, her remarks a few days ago have obviously become tougher to deny the "first-hand property vacancy tax," which can even be said to be equivalent to admitting to protect the price of a specific property and avoiding the difficulty of drafting laws.

Carrie Lam attended the "Policy Address" TV forum.

(Photo by Liao Yanxiong)

To take a step back, even if the society really widely accepts that certain types of "high-end" houses can be sold at the same price, the authorities have the same responsibility to solve the obstacles encountered in the design of the law, rather than just use it because it is difficult to clearly distinguish the boundaries. The attitude of cutting feet and fitting shoes completely gave up.

The rapid completion of local legislation to improve the electoral system at the beginning of the year is the best proof that Hong Kong governors need and have the ability to overcome the legal difficulties of drafting. What's more, the draft content of the "first-hand building vacancy tax" itself has already been prepared, and it is impossible to add relevant provisions. Go to the level of "very difficult".

As for the "policy address" that immediately criticized the "first-hand building vacancy tax" plan "removed", it shows that the society at least thinks that it is at least one of the problems even if it is not the "most core".

Even the previous report of the Bills Committee of the Legislative Council pointed out that "Members generally agree that the hoarding of first-hand private residential units is not ideal." This is the only point where members have a "consensus."

If those who govern Hong Kong really have the courage not to be afraid of the rise and fall of the property market, the "first-hand property vacancy tax" should help solve the problem of local housing supply. However, facing the above-mentioned facts, they still choose to refuse to do it, which seems to only reflect them. There is no such courage.

The number of units cannot be ignored. The policy address per capita living area is not the only policy address. The key to expanding the layout of the northern metropolitan area is the policy address for the balance of employment and housing.

Source: hk1

All news articles on 2021-10-11

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