Hong Kong to Take Back Part of Biggest Golf Course for Homes

(Bloomberg) -- Hong Kong is set to take over part of an iconic golf course to build homes as the city grapples with a housing shortage.

The government endorsed all the proposals suggested by a government-appointed panel to tackle the city’s residential housing crisis, Secretary for Development Michael Wong said at a media briefing Wednesday. Among the most high-profile: reclaiming 32 hectares (79 acres) of the Hong Kong Golf Club’s venerable site in Fanling.

Hong Kong to Take Back Part of Biggest Golf Course for Homes

The government will get back the portion of the golf course for housing three years after its land lease ends in 2020, according to Wong. “Land shortage has constantly been troubling Hong Kong so there’s an urgent need for us to increase land supply,” he said.

The government will also consider reclaiming 1,000 hectares of land from the sea off Lantau Island. Other options that were endorsed included developing private agricultural land, building on deserted rural plots and recreational sites, and utilizing underground space.

Hong Kong to Take Back Part of Biggest Golf Course for Homes

Hong Kong, the world’s least affordable housing market, has long been plagued by land issues, with an estimated current residential shortfall of more than 1,200 hectares. The problem is particularly acute now because new land supply is at an eight-year low, according to Bloomberg Intelligence.

The Hong Kong Golf Club at Fanling is home to three 18-hole courses and practice facilities. The decision to take back some of its 172 hectares strikes a balance between boosting housing supply and the need to continue hosting international golf tournaments, South China Morning Post said earlier Wednesday. It added the site has been leased to the Hong Kong Golf Club by the government for about HK$2.4 million ($305,800) a year.

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